With the number of online accounts we have nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to ensure that they all have a secure, yet memorable password. Add to that the fact that cybercriminals are consistently trying to get a hold of our login credentials, and we have a real dilemma. Fortunately, two-factor authentication (2FA) is on hand to significantly bolster the security of our online accounts.
What exactly is 2FA and why is it so useful?
There are a number of methods that cybercriminals employ to obtain users’ passwords and gain access to online accounts. One common method uses automated bots to enter many different email and password combinations in an effort to find a match. They also use phishing attacks — a type of online scam whereby criminals impersonate legitimate organizations to try and trick people into giving them their login information. The previous two examples are generally aimed at many different users, but cybercriminals may also target specific people’s accounts and make every effort to gain access to their login details, too.
However, 2FA, as well as multi-factor authentication (MFA), adds an extra layer of security to online accounts by requiring users to provide two different authentication factors to verify themselves. Whereas conventionally users only need to provide one authentication factor — almost always a password, 2FA requires users to provide a second authentication factor — typically either a security code sent via SMS, an on-device prompt sent to a mobile phone or tablet, or a fingerprint scan. This is a huge deterrent to cybercriminals because it means that even if they have a user’s email and password, they will still not be able to gain access to the account.
According to Google, 2FA via SMS code helps “block 100% of automated bots, 96% of bulk phishing attacks, and 76% of targeted attacks,” and on-device prompts prevent “100% of automated bots, 99% of bulk phishing attacks and 90% of targeted attacks.” Looking at the data, it is clear that enabling 2FA massively helps in thwarting cybercriminals’ efforts to hack into accounts.
Still on the fence?
We’re continually becoming more and more reliant on our online accounts. We use them for everything — email, social media, online shopping, remote work, and more. With this increasing reliance, we’re trusting ever-growing amounts of our personal data and livelihoods in the security of those accounts. If you don’t enable 2FA, you are simply not taking advantage of an additional, easy to configure safeguard.
How to turn on 2FA
Typically, to enable 2FA for an online account, you will need to do so through the settings menu. The feature is normally found by navigating through Settings > Privacy > Security and Account > Two-Factor Authentication (this will vary slightly from platform to platform).
Here is a list of links to the instruction pages for setting up 2FA for popular online services:
Password best practices
In addition to configuring 2FA for all your accounts, you should also follow good password management practices:
- Create unique, strong passwords of a decent length (8+ characters) for each of your online accounts, and change them often, particularly for the accounts containing payment information.
- Use a combination of characters, numbers, and symbols to add complexity to the passwords and make them much more difficult to guess.
Strengthen the security of your online accounts with Trend Micro
To help you manage your passwords and stay on top of your online security, use Trend Micro Password Manager! It not only supports two-factor authentication, but also provides enhanced security features. The app is available for you to try for free today:
- Automatically generates complex, tough-to-hack passwords and stores them securely so you don’t need to remember them.
- Allow you to change and manage your passwords from any location, on any device.
- Features app and web browser support for PC, Mac, Android, and iOS.
For more information about Trend Micro Password Manager, please go here.
Click on the button below to download Trend Micro Password Manager directly: