Image showing a laptop, phone, and two factor authentication
The Helcim Blog / Merchant Guides

What is Two-Factor Authentication?

Nic Beique | February 5, 2018

“Two-Factor Authentication is a method of confirming the account owner’s identity by using two different factors of entry. In order to log in, you need to “know" something”

1 min read

Accounts now need a second layer of security, which is why two-factor authentication was introduced.

Using a password has been the main point of entry for website accounts since the dawn of the internet, becoming the standard in internet security. Except that now, computer hacking, phishing scams, and social engineering has increased to the point where passwords are no longer the most secure method of security on their own.

What is Two Factor Authentication?

Two-Factor Authentication is a method of confirming the account owner’s identity by using two different factors of entry. In order to log in, you need to “know” something, and you need to “have” something that no-one else has.

; The most common two-factor authentication systems will ask the user to first input their password. Once the password has been validated, the system will generate a one-time, time-sensitive token that is sent to the user’s cell-phone. The user then enters the token that was generated and sent to them and access to the account will be granted to them. Let’s say you log in to your Gmail account. It will ask you for a password and will also ask you to enter a pin-code that was sent to your phone. That way if someone steals your password, they would also need to steal your cell-phone. Other items that can be used in multi-factor authentication, including your fingerprint, facial recognition, or a keycard. A more popular method of two-factor that is being implemented in businesses today is token generator apps, such as [Google Authenticator](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Authenticator). ## Two Factor Authentication is a Step Towards a Safer Internet Currently, two-factor authentication is one of the most effective methods of reducing your risk of a security breach due to an account takeover. Enabling two-factor on your personal accounts that involve important information and payment details are important in protecting yourself from fraud. Consider also implementing two-factor within your business, as by increasing the security for your customers, you also protect your business’ brand and reputation.

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