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Multi-Factor Authentication

A Beginner’s Guide

Demand for secured data is at an all-time high as we witness the migration of industry to the digital realm. The password, as we know it, is no longer sufficient to protect against rapidly evolving cyberthreats. In the last five years, the focus of best practice cybersecurity is the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Multi-factor authentication is an electronic authentication method in which a user is granted access to a site or application only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence (AKA factors) to an authentication mechanism. Utilizing MFA’s improves account security andhelps prevent attacks on personal data.In a 2019 reportby Microsoft manager, Alex Weinert, it was confirmed that accounts using MFA’s are 99.9% less likely to be compromised.

Diagram demonstrating the 2 step verification
Multi-Factor Authentication adds an extra layer of security to the sign-in process to protect your private data.

Multi-Factor Authentication Types

MFA’s come in many forms, and depending on the type of information, one variety of MFA maybe more desirable over another. The term, MFA, is often used interchangeably with 2FA or two-factor authentication.All MFA’s work to confirm identities with at least two factors, these factors are classified in three broad categories:

Something You Know–includes character passwords, PINs, combinations, or code words.This category contains anything you can remember and then type, say, do, or perform as needed.

Something You Have– Includes items that are physical objects, such as keys, smart phones, USB drives and token devices that must be triggered togain account access.

Something You Are–Pertaining to parts of the body that can be offered for verification such as fingerprints, palm scanning, facial recognition, retina scans, iris scans, and voice verification

In most cases, system administrators will utilize a combination of all three types of security authentication to give users options of how they can confirm their identity.

Many individuals have interacted with MFA’s without even realizing it. Can you recall a time when you tried to access an account and were given more than one option to authenticate the login? The types of authentication approachesare diversifying and becoming more available to the everyday internet user.

Consider some of these MFA providers to easily protect your personal data:

Duo Multi-Factor Authentication - Duo provides effective scalable security, which helps organizations to be more productive by allowing users to share passwords securely and easily across teams.

Lastpass MFA- Lastpass provides a full identity and access management platform for businesses of all sizes, combining password management, MFA and Single Sign-On, so that teams can improve their account security.

Google Authenticator -Google Authenticator is a software-based authenticator by Google that implements two-step verification services using the Time-based One-time Password Algorithm and HMAC-based One-time Password algorithm, for authenticating users of software applications.

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