To understand where to use a two-factor authentication system, you should get familiar with the concept and its basic principles. Two-factor authentication is a method of identifying a user, usually on the Internet, by requesting authentication data of two different types, which provides two-layer, and therefore more effective protection of the account from unauthorized entry.
To give you a better understanding, it looks like this in reality: the first line is the username and password, the second is a special code that comes via SMS or email. Less often, the second “layer” of protection requires a special USB key or user’s biometric data. In general, the essence of the approach is very simple: to get somewhere, you need to confirm your identity twice with the help of two “keys”, one of which you own and the other you keep in mind.
Two-factor authentication is an access system based on two “keys”: you own one (the phone to which the SMS comes with a code), the other you remember (your usual username and password).
However, two-factor protection is not a panacea for account hijacking, but a fairly reliable barrier that seriously complicates attackers access to other people’s data. Indeed, the passwords, on which the vast majority of authorization mechanisms on the Internet are based, have unavoidable shortcomings. Although short and simple passwords are easy to remember, they are also easy to pick up. As for long and complex ones, they are hard to crack but also difficult to remember. For this reason, many people use fairly trivial passwords. The second factor in such cases is extremely useful because even if the password has been compromised, the attacker will have to either get the victim’s mobile phone or hijack their mailbox.
Despite the numerous attempts of modern mankind to replace passwords with something more interesting, it was not so easy to completely get rid of this paradigm, so two-factor authentication can be considered one of the most reliable protection mechanisms today. This method is also convenient because it is able to warn the account owner about an attempt to hack.
When Should I Enable Two-factor Authentication?
The answer to this question can be a simple rule: if the service you use contains important data for you and allows you to enable two-factor authentication, activate it without hesitation! We would recommend always using this system in such cases:
- Online banking, purchasing items on the Internet. We guarantee that you would not want your credit card information to get stolen. 2 FA will protect you from any possible consequences.
- Social networks. It is best to be extra sure when it comes to personal correspondence and media files. The majority of popular social networks require 2-step verification anyway.
However, you can neglect a two-factor authentication system with websites that do not contain important personal data. For example, people do not usually use this system on such websites as Pinterest, photo stocks, and entertainment websites.