These days, most cyberattacks are at the account level. If a cybercriminal gets into your account (whether it’s your work account or personal account), they can use it to steal your assets, sell your information on the black market, get access to other accounts, and launch more cyberattacks.
So, what can you do? Two-factor authentication (also called multi-factor authentication) can stop a cyberattack in tracks. In some cases, it can save you even after falling victim to an attack.
In the traditional login process, you have a username and password. Your password is a single form of authentication. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection to the login process.
With two-factor authentication, you need a second form of authentication in addition to your password. This is usually a code from an app on your phone or a secure keyfob. It can also be a biometric id, like a fingerprint or face scan.
Without that second form of authentication, cybercriminals can’t get into your account even if they have your password. The attempted attack ends there and your account is safe.
You should implement two-factor authentication on any account you can, both professional and personal. A lot of services, like social media sites, email, and online banking offer two-factor authentication for free. Check your settings for every account to turn it on.
Note: Some places use two-step verification instead of two-factor authentication. These are technically different processes, but they accomplish the same thing, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.
We’re not going to lie to you—it’s going to be a little annoying when you first turn it on. But you get used to it. And that little bit of annoyance is a small price to pay for keeping your accounts safe.