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What is Two-Factor Authentication?

By Rizwan Ahmad - 28 August 2012 No Comments
What is Two-Factor Authentication?
The Internet and all of our technology makes us an easy target for scams and identity theft, and many businesses are finding that their customers are skeptical of sharing personal information through the computer if it’s not protected.

Thankfully, there are security measures that can be taken by these companies to secure the information of their customers and put their minds at ease. One of the most popular security measurements being taken is the use of two factor authentication.

What is two factor authentication?
Two factor authentication, also known as 2FA, is a security technique in which an individual needs to present two items that prove they are who they say they are. Examples of two factor authentication include something the individual knows, such as their date of birth, social security number, etc.; something the user has, such as a photo ID, birth certificate, smartcard, etc.; and something that the user is, such as proving identity through a fingerprint.

What’s the purpose of two factor authentication?
Two factor authentication is used so that information is not given to the wrong person. For example, when you use your computer to log into your bank account, you may be prompted to provide information about yourself. This is the bank’s way of using two factor authentication to prove they’re giving access to the right person.

But two factor authentication is not only used online—it’s also used in person, and you may be using it more than you think. For example, have you ever gone to an ATM? Those use two factor authentication. Your ATM card is the first factor they use to determine who you are, and the second factor is the PIN that you need to provide in order to access your account.

The benefits of two factor authentication are exemplary. First, it helps keep the right information to the right owners. This makes it harder for scam artists to access your information and ensures that your private information is kept private.

It also allows companies to protect themselves from lawsuits. If a scam artist does come across enough of your information to scam the system, and you want to file a lawsuit against the company, it will be difficult to do, as employing a 2FA tactic shows that they were taking the right measures to keep your information safe.

Do all companies use 2FA?
No. Though many industries, including financial and healthcare, tend to use two factor authentication, not all companies have employed this tactic. Though it’s not a new concept, implementing two factor authentication is still very expensive for companies to implement. If they don’t have the budget to put this tactic into their practice, they’re not going to use it.

Some customers still have a difficult time with the two factor authentication process. Some customers may forget their answers to specialized questions and some may forget their pins and passwords, which means that the company will have to reset everything in order to re-authenticate the individual’s account.

Stella Brown specializes in data security, she works for Authentify, leaders in two-factor authentication.

Rizwan Ahmad
About the Author:

This article is contributed by Stella Brown and posted by Rizwan Ahmad Author and founder of cyberockk.com, He is a tech blogger from India and he loves to share his thoughts by writing articles on this site to the different topics related to technology world,

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