Two-Factor Authentication and Why You Should Use It

Posted by Paul Schulz on April 20, 2016 at 9:37 AM


Almost all online accounts in use today are secured by usernames and passwords. Common passwords can easily be cracked through brute force methods, giving hackers full access to your personal accounts. As the use of this form of authentication in the near future will likely remain the same, there are other security measures that consumers can take advantage of to protect their private information.

Many online service providers are now offering their customers the ability to use two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA involves the use of two forms of identification when authenticating online. Commonly, 2FA is described by something you know and by something you have. Most of us are already utilizing a form of 2FA through the use of our debit cards. When making an in-store purchase we scan the card (something you have) and enter our four-digit pin (something you know).

With 2FA enabled, hackers will have a more difficult time accessing your private information as they would need to compromise the something you have factor of 2FA in addition to your account credentials.

There are a number of solutions used in the implementation of 2FA varying from secure tokens, smartphone apps, and biometrics. More commonly with services like social media and email, smartphones have become the something you have factor in 2FA. The most significant downside to using 2FA involves the increased number of steps required to sign-in to your online services. However, the increased security 2FA provides is worth the extra time it may take.

You may be asking; how do I determine which online services utilize 2FA? The open-source project Two Factor Auth has created a comprehensive list of companies who have taken steps to implement 2FA. Once on their site, you can check which online services offer 2FA to their customers and obtain information on how to begin using these enhanced security services.

For more info related to data security for business, contact Chad at 309-664-8146 or

Topics: Tech Trends, Security