First things first: before we can even begin to discuss what exactly Two Factor Authentication is, also referred to as 2FA, how it works, and what the benefits are, we need to get a firm grasp on what Authentication is.
It is usually recommended to have some type of authentication before accessing any data, whether it be an application, software, or data.
Think of the variable that will be used to keep this data as your house, and consider authentication to be the key that will let you inside.
It is possible for the place holder to be a database, access files, variable files, or any other kind of file that links to the data in the store or application.
Understanding of Authentication: Google Account
You will have a much better understanding of Authentication after looking at the example of a Google account.
A Google account may be used for a multitude of different things, like sending and receiving emails, watching videos on YouTube, locating places on Google Maps, browsing and downloading the most recent apps from the Play Store, and a lot of other activities.
All of these can be done using a single email account. Which indicates that having authentication in order to access one’s Google Account is the most important thing that may be done.
You may become aware of the destruction that can be wreaked on your personal identification while you are online if an unauthorised individual gains access to your account.
These might also refer to the numerous applications that are associated with your Google Account.
You should have recognised, after reading the introduction to the scenario that was just presented, how critical it is to have a secure and reliable password (one that follows all the guidelines to a password that cannot be realised easily).
At this point in time, the only thing standing between you and access to your Google account is your password.
This becomes the major characteristic used for authentication.
In addition to this, if you add in another means of authentication, it would be a randomly generated OTP (One-Time-Password) that Google would send to your cell phone or other email ID.
Two-factor authentication, often known as 2FA, is being used here.
Why is it critical to make use of two different forms of authentication?
Unfortunately, you can no longer rely on your password alone to keep you secure. Malware on your computer (or even on the website itself!) can simply steal your password and use it again.
This is true even if you use a unique password for each website that you use. Or, if someone watches you enter your password, they might be able to memorise it and then log in using your account.
Do you honestly believe that it won’t ever happen to you?
Hackers are able to easily get into a large number of internet accounts and take control of them by employing strategies such as “credential stuffing,” “password spraying,” or brute-force attacks.
That is true each and every time. Even industry leaders like Cisco and Apple’s iCloud service are susceptible to cyberattacks.
This includes retail giants, supermarket delivery services, phone networks, and even music streaming websites and cell networks.
These automated attempts to log in cannot access accounts that have been protected with a two factor authentication method.
When you utilise two-factor authentication, you are protected against phishing emails as well.
Even if someone sends you an email that looks fishy and tries to trick you into giving your social media username and password to a fake site, two-factor authentication 2fa can still protect you.
This is because two-factor authentication uses more than one piece of information to verify your identity.
Your two-factor authentication code will only be valid if it comes from the genuine website.
How the use of two-factor authentication helps secure your data and your privacy
Two-factor authentication is becoming increasingly significant as businesses, governments, and the general public come to the realisation that passwords alone are not sufficient to keep user accounts secure in the technological world of today.
In fact, the annual cost of a data breach has now risen to an average of more than two trillion dollars.
Even though two-factor authentication guards against a wide variety of vulnerabilities, the most typical ones are:
1. Stolen Passwords
A password can be used by anyone who is able to obtain a copy of it. If a user were to write down their password on a piece of paper, for instance, that piece of paper may be stolen and then used to access the person’s account.
Two-factor authentication, on the other hand, requires the user to authenticate themselves using a second device in addition to entering a password.
2. Phishing Attempts
Hackers frequently distribute emails that contain links to malicious websites with the intention of infecting a user’s computer or coercing the victim into divulging their passwords.
Whoever is responsible for the hacking will be able to utilise the password once it has been discovered.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an additional layer of security that can be added on top of a password to prevent phishing.
3. Brute-force Attacks
When conducting a brute-force assault, a hacker generates passwords for a particular computer randomly until they discover the correct one.
The second layer of security that two-factor authentication (2FA) provides is the requirement that a login attempt be validated before access may be granted.
4. Social Engineering
Hackers typically resort to simple deception to coerce victims into divulging their credentials.
They can earn the user’s trust before asking for their login details if they pose as an IT employee working at the user’s organisation and appear to be working there.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) prevents this from occurring by verifying, after a password has been entered, the user’s location as well as their IP address.
5. Key Logging
Even if the user has not written their password down, it is possible for hackers to steal it using software that copies the password as the user types it.
Hackers will watch what you input and will save the password so that they can use it in the future.
The second step of verification that is provided by two-factor authentication (2FA) makes it possible for a user to confirm that they are the one attempting to log in, even if their password has been compromised.
Comparison of Two-Factor Authentication to Multi Factor Authentication
There are a variety of Authentication systems available, one of which is known as Two-Factor Authentication.
MFA, which stands for “Multi Factor Authentication,” is a type of authentication that necessitates the provision of two or more verification factors on the part of the user before gaining access to any application, data bit, or data stream.
Having numerous authentication factors will make it less likely that a cyber attack will be launched via that particular channel.
The following three categories of data provide the basis for the vast majority of the Multi-Factor Authentication methods:
- Your knowledge – Like the password or PIN
- Your inheritance – Biometric, Voice recognition, Optical recognition
- Your possession – Smartphone, Swipe cards
How can we tell them apart from one another?
All in all, “Two Factor Authentication” (also known as “2FA”) is a subset of “Multi Factor Authentication” (also known as “MFA“).
MFA is a type of authentication that can employ more than two different procedures to verify the identity of a user or access.
Let’s take a look at a different scenario: this time, you’re in an Apple store to make a purchase of a MacBook, an iPhone, or an iPad.
You’ll need to supply two pieces of information in order to sign in to a new device for the first time: your password, as well as a six-digit verification code that is either displayed on your trusted devices or texted to the phone number associated with your account.
Due to the rise in the frequency of cyberattacks and the exposure of private information, simply knowing your password is no longer sufficient to gain access to your account.
Two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA, is a significant improvement to the level of protection afforded to both your Apple ID and the private data you keep within the Apple Cloud.
Consider the possibility that you have misplaced your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook.
In this scenario, there is a considerable risk that sensitive information could be stolen if the device falls into the wrong hands.
It is possible to use the mobile device in one of two ways as an authenticator:
- Having an authenticator programmed already installed on your device, which will create random numbers to fulfil the requirements of the first phase of the authentication process.
- Enter the TAC code that comes with the mobile device.
Just what is the TAC?
The Type Authentication Code, also known as TAC, is a code consisting of eight digits that is used to specifically identify the hardware of a cellular device.
GSMA creates it, and it is composed of the first eight digits of the IMEI number of the device.
Now, once we combine our standard password authentication process with the TAC, the data access will be in a category all its own.
After reviewing all of these specifics, we must understand that utilising two factor authentication, also known as 2FA, is the most effective way for defending ourself from automated log-in attempts.
The following are some examples of two-factor authentication mechanisms, listed from least popular to most popular:
- Text message code
- An Authenticator App – Like Google authenticator
- Physical security key – RSA token authenticators that generate random combinations of pass keys
Conclusion: Implementation of Two Factor Authentication by Exabytes
Starting October 1st, 2022, Exabytes had fully implemented Two Factor Authentication (2FA) Time Based Tokens on its cPanel and billing system logins in order to increase data security, safeguard customers’ privacy, and protect their sensitive data.
Customers of Exabytes are needed to enter a six-digit number in addition to their regular login and password when using Time-based Tokens.
This is in addition to the ordinary login and password.
Only your token device, which is typically a mobile app installed on your smartphone, will be able to generate one-time passwords and have access to the secret key associated with your account.
To learn how to enable two-factor authentication (2FA), click here.