beanz Magazine

2FA

Kate Russell on Flickr

This odd acronym offers security protection beyond your password. Here are a few examples of how 2FA works.

Experts compare computer security to a chain. Every link in the chain needs to be strong: good encryption, good network protocols, good passwords. An attacker only needs to break one link for the whole chain to go down. Naturally, they’ll go after the weakest link.

Turns out the weakest link in computer security is usually humans. Specifically, our passwords.

After all, who has time to remember 67 different passwords, each 25 characters long, each a jolly jumble of numbers and letters? No one, that’s who. Either we walk around with giant lists of passwords or we cut corners. We reuse passwords; we keep to the minimum length; we choose passwords that are easy to remember… like ‘password123’.

And since people aren’t a fan of getting hacked, companies came up with a novel idea to make up for the fact that our passwords are terrible: a second authentication factor!

‘Authentication Factor’ is just a fancy of way of saying ‘something that proves your identity’. In real life we have passports, health cards, and driver’s licenses. Online, we have passwords. With 2FA (2-factor authentication), instead of providing one piece of online ID, you provide two. That way, if one password is compromised, the other stands strong and unbroken.

Wait, a second password? Isn’t that worse?

 

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This odd acronym offers security protection beyond your password. Here are a few examples of how 2FA works.

Links from the bottom of all the February 2017 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

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