HomeTechHacker: Why You Should Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Monday, March 20, 2023

Duo Mobile
By Marlon Buchanan

Are you worried about being hacked? Do you worry about cybercriminals breaking into your online accounts? If so, you should be using Multi-factor authentication (MFA).

MFA is a security process that requires users to provide multiple pieces of evidence, or "factors," to verify their identity before accessing a system or service. This is in contrast to traditional authentication methods, which typically only require a single factor, such as a password. 

The multiple factors include:
  • A password, passphrase, or personal identification number (PIN) – Something you know
  • A token, smartcard, or key – Something you have
  • Biometrics like a fingerprint, voice recognition, or a retinal scan – Something you are

Hardware key
You’ve probably been using multi-factor authentication for years. When you go to an ATM machine to withdraw money, you insert an ATM card (something you have) and then enter a PIN (something you know). This is using multiple methods, or factors, to authenticate that you are you and can have access to your bank account.

Multi-factor authentication can use 2, 3, 4, or more methods of authentication. Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is a type of multi-factor authentication that requires only two methods. The ATM example above is 2FA. So is your bank emailing or texting you a one-time authorization code when you log in to their website.

MFA has become increasingly important in recent years due to the proliferation of data breaches and cyberattacks. With traditional single-factor authentication, a hacker only needs to obtain a user's password in order to gain access to their accounts. With MFA, even if a hacker manages to obtain a user's password, they still need to provide additional evidence of their identity in order to access the system or service.

Yubi Key
MFA is an effective security measure because it makes it much more difficult for a hacker to gain access to a system or service. Even if a hacker manages to obtain a user's password, they still need to provide additional evidence of their identity in order to access the system or service. This added layer of security can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches.

In addition to providing increased security, MFA can also improve user experience by reducing the risk of account lockouts and other security-related issues. With traditional single-factor authentication, users may experience account lockouts if they forget their password or enter it incorrectly. With MFA, users have additional methods of verifying their identity, which can reduce the risk of account lockouts and make it easier for users to access their accounts.

Marlon Buchanan
I recommend that everyone use MFA when it is offered. Most social media and financial accounts offer some form of MFA. 

If you are interested in learning more ways to protect yourself online, be sure to check out my book, The Personal Cybersecurity Manual: How Anyone Can Protect Themselves from Fraud, Identity Theft, and Other Cybercrimes, available at Amazon and in bookstores everywhere.

Marlon Buchanan is a best-selling author, IT Director, and founder of HomeTechHacker.com, a website with free resources to help you make the most of your home technology.

See other HomeTechHacker articles here


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