Significance of Two Factor Authentication (2FA)
Cyril Jacob 18 Oct 2021

Significance of Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

Significance of Two Factor Authentication (2FA):


Two Factor Authentication (2FA) also referred to as 2 step verification or dual factor authentication is gaining more importance among users of the internet. 2FA is fundamentally a security process that enables users to provide two separate authentication factors to verify themselves. For instance, if a user wants to access an email or application, they have to provide a password as the first factor and secondly either a security code or token or biometric element such as fingerprint or facial scan.


The additional layer of security will make it much harder for attackers to access a person’s device and thereby obtain sensitive data. In fact, there are many organisations that are vouching for this type of authentication and have even considered the future 3 Factor Authentication (3FA) that involves possession of a token and password along with biometric data for access. It is interesting to note that Apple ios, Windows OS and Google Android have apps that support 2FA. 


With the work from home effect actively in place, it becomes all the more essential to activate 2FA. Many businesses sense the urgency to strengthen their authentication process. Strong authentication with tools such as hardware security keys enhance security without causing the user any inconvenience. 


§  Let us look into a few authentication factors:


1.     Knowledge factor – It is something that the user is aware of such as a password, PIN or other secret. 

2.     Possession factor – It can be an ID card, security token, a mobile device or an app for approving authentication requests. 

3.     Biometric factor – This is also known as Inherence Factor i.e. something inherent in the user’s physical aspect. For example, facial recognition, voice recognition, fingerprint scan, speech patterns, keystroke dynamics, behavioural patterns etc. 

4.     Location factor – This is denoted by location from where an authentication attempt is initiated. It can be enforced by limiting attempts to certain devices in a particular location. This is where GPS plays a crucial role. 

5.     Time factor – It restricts users authentication to a particular time frame whereby logging on is permitted and access outside the window is clearly limited. 


Generally passwords are often considered weak especially due to advanced levels of hacking. Therefore, with ever increasing attempts to crack passwords, it is only wise that users switch to 2FA. It may seem a hassle at first but one should remember that they cannot allow information to be vulnerable in the cyberspace. 

Major Reasons to use 2FA/ MFA:


1)    Identity theft is on the rise and is a threat to all businesses. It is one of the fastest growing crimes and has become more profitable than drug-related crimes.

2)    Weak or stolen credentials of users are a hacker’s mode of choice to launch attacks.

3)    The number of successful breaches have risen and malicious actors are winning the battle. 

4)    Anti-virus systems and advanced firewalls are essential and user authentication is a must to protect systems from intruders. 

5)    Password theft is evolving constantly as hackers deploy various methods such as keylogging, phishing, and malicious code. 

6)    Cyber criminals often destroy sensitive information, change programs and even use servers to transmit spam, code and propaganda.

7)    With users taking measures to authenticate themselves, providers of online services like net banking, gaming, social media, email services are adopting mobile based tools to effectively authenticate users while accessing their systems. 


How to enable 2FA?


1.     The user logs in by the app or website

2.     User enters the username and password. Then, the site’s server finds a match and recognises the user. 

3.     For processes that don’t need passwords, the site generates a unique security key. The authentication tool processes the key, and the server validates it. 

4.     The site then prompts the user to initiate the second login step. This can take a number of forms and the user has to prove that they have something exclusive to them. It may include biometrics, a security token, an ID card, a smartphone or other device. This is the possession factor. 

5.     Then, the user may enter a one-time code that was generated during step 4.

6.     After providing both factors, the user is authenticated and given access to the app or site. 


Undoubtedly, 2FA is a great line of defence. Certainly nothing is 100 percent secure but with a rise in methods for bypassing systems, a two factor authentication will go a long way in enabling a good amount of protection. Companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, PayPal, Yahoo and many others have enabled 2FA for users. Hence, netizens should make the most use of it without thinking twice. 


To learn more on cyber laws join my Online 10 lecture series starting from 12th November, 2021. Register before 21st October to avail 10% Early Bird Discount on Course Fee. For schedule of lecture and all other details and to Register please click here OR Click on the banner appearing on this page

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