How multi-factor authentication can keep you cyber safe
(NC) Email, social media, banking. We have so many accounts these days that keeping all of them safe can be a challenge. However, multi-factor authentication can help you make your accounts more secure.
Multi-factor authentication is a step beyond using a password or passphrase to protect your devices and accounts from cybercriminals. Imagine living in a house with a locked gate surrounding it. Your locked gate is a great first defence but having a bolted front door with a separate key would make it that much harder for a criminal to break in.
Essentially, multi-factor authentication requires you to have more than one way to prove you are who you say you are, and that you are permitted to log in to that device or account. It’s a combination of something you know, something you have and something you are.
For example, to unlock your phone, you need to enter a passcode and scan your fingerprint. Some other factors include:
- Something you know, such as a passphrase, password or personal identification number (PIN).
- Something you have, such as a token or smartcard.
- Something you are, such as a biometric like a fingerprint.
Many software vendors and other service providers offer multi-factor authentication as a security layer on your devices and online accounts. This means that if cybercriminals gain access to one piece of information like your password, they still need to provide additional pieces of information to successfully access your accounts.