Two-factor authentication (2FA) Explained

Today we will discuss the concept of two-factor authentication. Now, as we are moving towards a digital world, cybersecurity is a serious business day by day. Hacking is common now and if you want to secure your digital assets, you should know secure practices to access your bank and other online accounts. Two-factor authentication plays a crucial role to secure your digital assets in the online world.

Means of Authentication

Currently, there are three types of means of authentication.

  • Something you know (eg password)
  • Something you have (eg OTP on SMS)
  • Something you are (eg biometric)

Something you know (eg password). This is the most common way of authentication. Now Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and other popular sites are using two-factor authentication.

One factor authentication (SFA)

One-factor authentication is here for login into an online account, just need the login name and password. This is an example of something you know. Here the difficulty is this type of authentication is more vulnerable to external threats, such as hackers can use brute force, dictionary, or rainbow table attacks. Hence, it is recommended to use multifactor authentication such as two-factor authentication or three-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication (2FA), also known as two-step verification, is an authentication process in which the user provides a password and  OTP on SMS to verify the identity of the user.  Here the main difference between one-factor and two-factor authentication is the addition of an extra layer of security in terms of OTP on SMS or token number on RSA tokens.  It makes it harder for attackers to gain access to online accounts because just knowing the password alone is not enough to access the victim's account.

Three-factor authentication

Three-factor authentication, here there is the addition of an extra layer of security over two-factor authentication. Here the addition of identity such as biometric details needs to be given to log in to the account. This is definitely more secure than the other two types of authentication.

Example of two-factor authentication

ATM is the best example of two-factor authentication. Here PIN of the ATM card act as Something you know information and the Card act as a thing which Something you have. By combining both details, authentication becomes successful and you are able to withdraw money.

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Disclaimer: This tutorial is for educational purpose only. Individual is solely responsible for any illegal act.

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