What is Two-Factor Authentication?

Many of you have probably seen the terms “Two-Factor Authentication” and are wondering, what is this? Do not let terms such as this scare you. “Two-Factor Authentication” is another level of security that you can choose (usually as an option) to place on an online account where you are required to enter your username and password. Is this a good thing? You bet; and, I highly recommend it. Most people do not use strong passwords and most people typically do not change their passwords. With “Two-Factor Authentication”, the second level of security strengthens and makes it very difficult for someone to access your account, even if they managed to get your password. Using Facebook, as an example, I have my usual login where I enter my username and password; but, as the second level of protection, if I log into my account from another web browser, Facebook will require I enter a “code”. I have Facebook set to text me the “code”.

Oftentimes, online services that offer “Two-Factor Authentication”, will provide various options such as texting or emailing you a code; answering security questions; or using an authentication app to generate the codes. Also, with many of the online services, you can download a list of codes to hang onto in the event you don’t have your phone, etc… Don’t look at “Two-Factor Authentication”as an inconvenience; instead, look at it as “peace of mind” knowing your account and personal information is now safer.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a way to add additional security to your account. The first “factor” is your usual password that is standard for any account. The second “factor” is a verification code retrieved from an app on a mobile device or computer.


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