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  • Anthony Werner

Multi-Factor Authentication and Why it is Important

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an authentication technique that requires a user to present at least two factors that prove their identity. The first factor is often your username and password, which is “something you know” (or your password manager tool knows), while the second factor could be any one of the following:

  1. Something You Have: your cellphone (most common), keycard/key fob, or USB to verify your identity

  2. Something You Are: fingerprints, retina scans, or other biometric data to prove that you are who you say you are

  3. Something You Know: answers to personal security questions or one-time passwords (OTPs)

Setting up a secondary factor to your username and password is an easy way to protect your accounts and your privacy.

Why Is It Important?

Cybercriminals have more than 15 billion stolen credentials to choose from. If they choose yours, they could take over your bank account, identity, healthcare records, company secrets, and more. This is where MFA steps in, as it makes stealing your information more difficult for the average cybercriminal. The more difficult it is to access your data, the more likely thieves will choose someone else to target.

Data Breach Statistics

Data breaches are becoming more and more common, and some of the most recent data breaches have been the largest on record, affecting industry giants such as Yahoo, Facebook, and Equifax. Head on over to Information Is Beautiful for a good scare. Yahoo holds the record for the largest data breach of all time, with three billion compromised accounts in 2013. Facebook had 540 million user records exposed on an Amazon cloud server in 2015. Equifax announced a data breach in 2017 that exposed the personal information of 147 million people. If you are still doubtful that your email or phone number haven’t ever been compromised, please check out the website https://haveibeenpwned.com to see if your credentials have ever been listed in a data breach.

As a result of these monumental data breaches, companies and individuals alike are recognizing the risks associated with stolen credentials and are reacting accordingly. More than 55% of enterprises use MFA to protect their security, with that number rising each year. Now is the best time to consider utilizing MFA if you haven’t already.

How Do I Start Using MFA?

There are many different MFA applications available to start using in your day-to-day online life. To leverage MFA applications, you will need to enable MFA in the settings of your online accounts. Most popular online services, such as banks, social media platforms, and streaming services, have MFA as an option to enable. Once enabled, you will need to choose which MFA application you will use. Listed below are a few free options available on both iOS and Android:

  • Microsoft Authenticator

  • Google Authenticator

  • RSA SecurID Authenticate

  • LastPass Authenticator

  • Okta Verify

  • Twilio Authy App

Summary

Multi-factor authentication solutions are often free and extremely easy to use. They provide simple but effective protection to us, the individual users, and to the companies who we entrust with our personal data. Each time security experts create new ways to defend against cyberattacks, cybercriminals find new ways to bypass them, but MFA has proven to have an excellent protection track record.


Don’t give bad actors an easy opportunity, enable MFA today across all of your accounts.


To learn more about authentication, MFA and access management, check out our pages below:

· Authentication & Authorization

· Multi-factor Authentication

· Access Management


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