Two-factor authentication (2FA) – or, Multi-factor authentication (MFA), as it’s becoming increasingly known – is perhaps the most directly effective way to combat password hacking and the unauthorized access to company data, software, and devices. Password hacking is becoming more prevalent in the workplace, due to cyber thieves becoming smarter and, conversely, companies and employees not being as aware as hackers are of password authentication loopholes. The company that does implement good password authentication practices will do well in combatting hacker opportunism on this point.
Both 2FA and MFA password security are effective ways individuals and the companies for which they work can ratchet-up their counter-measures and 86 hackers from their IT networks and data centers. What it does is add another, secure layer of protection in between cybercriminals and your sensitive data files and network. How it works is you have a two-step system of log in, the first step being the usual way: Username, then password, which then takes you to a secondary verification page, where you then enter the second stage of verification, in the form of such authentication factors of your choice as:
- Automated phone calls
- PIN codes sent as text messages
- Mobile device apps
- Physical security verification items, such as tokens
You may recognize the first two as being common methods of security verification, especially by financial institutions and third parties to verify transaction or other actions, such as changing account or payment status. As for numbers 3 and 4 on the list, mobile device or smartphone apps like Google Authenticator is one of the most popular – in addition to being free, and has been seen as the “authentication app for the masses”. The attractive aspect of it is that it generates new one-time passcodes each minute, used in real time so that hackers can’t parse its contents. Security tokens work like the smartphone app, except that it’s a physical device which generates the same one-time passcode required for login. The physical security authentication has a separate, static password or PIN which the user must input to receive the auto-generated passcode needed, which then prohibits loss or theft of the token.
Mobile Device Management
This is all part of stricter, better mobile device security through specific mobile device management (MDM) strategies that work in keeping individuals and companies safe from data thieves. Although it may seem cumbersome to businesses already dealing with vast amounts of user login and password verification info, it would do any company of any size well to employ multi-factor authentication wherever possible.
Ask the Experts
Do you have questions about two-factor or multi-factor authentication and how it will bolster your cyber defenses and keep your valuable data safe? ComputerHelpLA is the leader in providing managed IT services in Los Angeles. Contact one of our IT pros at (310) 893-0878 or send us an email at [email protected], and we will be happy to answer all your questions.