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What Is 2FA and Why Do We Need It?

Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2022
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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Perhaps you’ve heard of 2FA? 2FA stands for two-factor authentication. It is also called two-step verification or dual-factor authentication. It is simply an extra step added to the log-in process that helps secure your online accounts. It is an important layer of computer security to prevent others from gaining access to online accounts, such as banking, health, medical and so forth.   

Normally, to access most accounts, people are required to enter a username and password. One might assume that this makes the account very secure. However, in today’s world, with computer hacking and other unscrupulous practices commonly occurring, computer security is constantly evolving. To reduce your chances of fraud and to protect your valuable personal and financial information, it’s important to move toward two step identification whenever possible.

Most doctor offices, banks, and other businesses that store information are now offering two-step authentication in which a user is required to provide additional verification after signing in. Often, a verification code is provided to the user, generally via text or email or an automated phone call. Or a fingerprint scan can be used to help verify your identity instead.

2FA is considered a subset of multi-factor authentication. The latter, known as MFA, is an electronic authentication method that is often used by business professionals who hold important client information. MFA is often more complex than 2FA and requires more steps for users to prove their identities. MFA users must use multiple sources to access their accounts. 2FA falls under the umbrella of MFA, however users are only required to jump through one extra hoop to prove their identity, rather than multiples ones.  

Using 2FA is a valuable line of defense because it adds an extra layer of protection for most accounts without being overburdensome for users. Per Norton, an industry-leading antivirus and security software provider, single regular passwords are historically weak and are prone to hacking. Additionally, 78% of Gen Z use the same password, making their accounts extremely vulnerable to criminals. In fact, 23 million accounts use 123456. But, by adding the extra step to access your personal information, you can help keep criminals from accessing your account.

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