McQuiston: Multi-Factor Authentication … What It Is And Why You Should Use It

The Jemez Agency
Serving Los Alamos since 1963

Have you noticed that many websites and apps are starting to require more than just a password to login to your account? Do you get annoyed and frustrated and wish you didn’t have to do it?

The fact is, more and more websites are requiring this additional level of security and that means more and more questions have surfaced in regards to what it is and why it’s necessary.

When a website or app requires at least one additional piece of information besides a password in order to login, it’s called Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Each piece of information required must come from a different category in order for it to be considered MFA. Categories include something you have (bank card), something you know (password), and something you are (fingerprint). Multi-factor authentication has been around for quite some time, but most people probably aren’t aware of it.

The most common example is an ATM, which requires both a bank card and a PIN. Typically, if a website or app requires something beyond a password, it involves entering a numeric code that was sent to your phone or e-mail (validation code) or answering security questions. And to make it easier on the user, the application usually remembers the device you’re logging in from so you don’t have to complete this step every time.

So why is all this extra work to login to your account necessary? To get right down to it, the more information you need to login to something, the harder it is for someone to hack into your account. According to a Google survey, two-factor authentication is one of the top five ways security experts protect their information. Identity fraud is only growing and becoming more frequent, so the safer your information is, the better. I would rather take the extra steps to go through MFA than take the risk of my account being hacked. If MFA is optional, take the steps to require it.

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