Why You Need Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Your personal accounts can only be confidential if you can keep them secure. In this cyber age having security is everything.

Think about your home… You have a key that gets you through the door. If someone has that key then they have access to your home.

Well having the key to your online accounts gives another person access to your personal data.

One way to improve the security of your accounts is to enroll in multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Adding MFA to your day to day habits online will keep you and your data safe from outsiders and intrusion.

What is authentication?

Authentication is the tech way of saying “proving who you are.” Using multiple ways of proving who you keep your online data safe.

Think about how you take out money from an ATM.

When you arrive at the ATM you have your debit card.

This is something that only you (and authorized additional users) have.

You insert the card into the ATM and you are prompted on the screen to provide a PIN number.

This is something that only you know.

By having both the ATM card and the PIN you have multiple proven ways of showing the system that the owner is trying to access their account.

How does MFA work?

MFA uses different pieces of information to confirm your identity:

Something You Know

This is a piece of information that you and only you would know like your password.

Start with having a strong password that is unique to that account in which it is being used. Having a strong password that is not easily identified by hackers is an important layer of keeping your data secure.

You can review my tips on creating a strong password here.

Something You Have

This is a piece of information or a device that is given to you to confirm your identity at the time of accessing your account like a one-time password or a push notification from an app.

If you are using a device such as your smartphone be sure that no one else has access to it.

Something You Are

This step requires you to provide a biometric like your fingerprint or facial recognition.

Biometrics are unique and cannot be easily copied by someone else. Biometrics are also not easily intercepted or lost.

With this added layer of protection, someone cannot log into your account simply by figuring out the password.

I know a lot of people use the same password over and over across multiple websites which means if one is hacked then they are all vulnerable.

Why should I use MFA?

Over the years the amount of information I kept online grew as the way I interacted with the internet evolved. Right now with COVID I find that most transactions and communications I have are virtual.

The last thing I want to deal with right now is a compromised online account. This is where MFA comes into play. When logging in to an online account you will provide multiple ways of showing your identity.

The ways you can do this are with something you know, something you have, or something you are.

Depending on how much information is exposed, the attacker finds their way into your other accounts even if you’re not using the same password.

In a 2019 SANS spotlight article, reusing passwords is a great risk especially when using single-factor authentication.

Many apps notify you if someone is trying to log into your account several times without success.

What can I do?

If you haven’t already, definitely set up login notifications on the apps that provide it.

I set up MFA on all the applications that provide it. I use it especially on any application or website that holds my finances, credit cards, health records, or confidential data.

You can turn on MFA for your social profiles:

Instagram: https://help.instagram.com/566810106808145

Twitter: https://help.twitter.com/en/managing-your-account/two-factor-authentication

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/148233965247823

Being safe online can be really easy just by making small changes to your habits. You will be surprised how these habits become second nature!

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