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June 13, 2019

What's the Deal With Two-Factor Authentication & Why Should You Use It?

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We use the internet for almost everything. Emails, banking, social media, work, and anything in between. By having our lives online, we put our personal lives on the line. Hacks and breaches of data happen every day and if your information is stolen in those attacks, the results can be devastating. However, there are certain measures you can take to protect your safety and privacy online. One of those measures is turning on two-factor authentication. Let’s go through:

  • What two-factor authentication is
  • Why you should use it
  • Where you should use it
  • When you should use it

What is Two-Factor Authentication?

Simply put, two-factor authentication (sometimes called 2FA or multi-step/multi-factor authentication) is an extra security measure that double-checks your identity. Every time you log in, you’ll first have to input your username and password, just like usual. This is where the extra security comes in. You’ll be prompted to take a second step in the form of a verification code. The application you are logging in to will send a code to a separate device, usually a cell phone or a secondary email address. You won’t be able to complete sign-in until you provide this code.

Two-factor authentication is so effective because potential attackers may have your sign-in information but the chance of them having your cell phone or a second email address is significantly more slim.

Why Should You Use 2FA?

By using this extra security feature, you make the lives of would-be hackers significantly more difficult. If you have to use two-steps to log in to your accounts, so do they. Two factor-authentication also reduces the risk of credit card fraud, identity theft, and more. In addition, revenge hacks -where disgruntled employees, friends, and loved ones who may have access to your private information use that knowledge against you- can also be prevented.

Where Should You Use 2FA?

In general, the best rule of thumb is to turn on two-factor authentication for any app that offers it. However, it does reduce convenience by slowing down how quickly you can log in to your accounts. Instead, consider how much personal and important information you have on each site to decide the level of security you want. We recommend using 2FA for online banking and shopping (or any other site with access to your financial information), email and cloud accounts, social media and messaging apps, and online password managers.

When Should You Use 2FA?

To keep it short and sweet, the best time to use two-factor authentication is now.

Keep in mind, two-factor authentication isn’t a magical shield that prevents all data breaches. You can further protect yourself by using strong passwords, multiple email addresses, and VPNs like HotBot VPN.

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