What is Two-factor Authentication?
In the wake of recent cyberattacks, information security experts have universally called upon companies to implement, integrate, and enable two-factor authentication to protect user accounts and access to their websites, applications, networks, servers, and systems. Two-factor authentication requires two authentication factors to verify identity, and it usually combines one factor from each of the categories discussed above. Thus, a password might be combined with physical possession of a smartphone, which is used to receive a one-time code via SMS process.
Two-factor authentication addresses the fundamental problem of cybersecurity, which is the continued use of traditional ID and password combinations for login security. Using IDs and passwords as the sole means of login security is no longer a safe method for protecting user accounts and preventing unauthorized access by attackers. Brute force attacks, phishing, and malware can easily defeat this outdated login method.
Also, hackers are continually developing newer tools and creating botnets of compromised computers to increase their computing power and quickly process huge numbers of brute force login attempts. Combined with lists of IDs and login credentials that have been compiled from previously successful data breaches, this allows them to launch large-scale attacks that are particularly dangerous despite the fundamental simplicity of their methods. Phishing schemes that use fake emails and websites are also routinely successful as attackers have become remarkably adept at carefully designing emails and web pages to look like legitimate. By tricking users into sharing their login credentials by notifying them that they need to reset hacking or deploying malicious programs.
Nonetheless, malware is another preferred choice for cyber-attacks, as this enables a wide variety of potential ways to steal user credentials and sensitive information using keystroke loggers, redirections to phishing sites, man-in-the-middle attacks, SQL injections, and many more.
However, two-factor authentication helps avoid these attacks by adding an additional layer of security that can prevent unauthorized access by requiring the user to verify identity through a separate method that is often inaccessible to attackers. Companies can deploy two-factor authentication to protect administrative and/or user access to their websites, applications, networks, and systems, and most companies that have integrated two-factor authentication rely on third party software, services, and hardware.