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How many times a day do you login to your bank account using your phone? How secure is your PayPal account? 

The truth is that we access more sensitive data than ever before and it needs to be protected. In days gone by a simple password might have been good enough, but these days it’s not enough anymore. This is where multi-factor authentication can help.

What Is Multi-Factor Authentication?

Most people are familiar with using a single password to gain access to a site or account. This typically consists of providing a username or email, and a password. For many purposes, this may be sufficient, but the fact is that more and more sensitive data is being compromised because single factor authentication is easier to break into.

In multi-factor authentication – or MFA – the user needs to provide more than one piece of information to prove that they are authorized to access the information on the account. For example, a user may be asked for their username and password, but they may also be asked to identify a series of images. In this case, two pieces of evidence are needed and it is called two factor authentication, or 2FA.

Of course, 2FA is only one type and there may be even more evidence required to access other information. This makes it harder to break into and, thus, more secure.

How Does it Work?

In MFA, people are often required to provide one or more of the following pieces of evidence that they are who they say they are:

  • A username and password
  • Answering a secret question that the user has previously set up
  • Sending a pin code to their phone and then inputting the pin code into a field to provide that they have access to the device
  • A biometric indicator, such as a fingerprint

Conclusion

In an age when more and more of our sensitive data is online, it’s important to protect it. MFA offers a higher level of security and minimizes the chances of data being stolen.