Using a strong password with complex combinations of letters and numbers will go a long way in protecting your account, but passwords provide only one level of protection against hackers. Additional levels of security can be added with multi-factor authentication. This is the best protection available for your internet accounts, and major technology companies have recently made this a reality for the public.
Multi-factor authentication works by adding layers of security to confirm your personal identity. The first layer is the most common, and the most susceptible to attack. The password/login formula is a good example of the first layer, this is also known as one-factor authentication because it asks you one thing about yourself, something you know. When a second layer of security is added, this is called two-factor authentication. This second factor will ask you for additional personal information, something you have, like a cell phone.
Utilizing the phone for two-factor authentication only makes sense because the mobile phone is so prevalent. Upon logging into your account as you would normally, your phone will be sent a Time-Based One-Time Password (TOTP), this will be used to complete the login process.
When you see multi-factor authentication in use, it looks like a slick technology out of a spy movie, but we are actually seeing multi-factor authentication being made available for our everyday internet browsing. Google has incorporated two-factor identification for Gmail and their other online applications, and Facebook has been offering two-factor authentication since 2011.
Microsoft made a giant leap in two-factor identification availability by acquiring PhoneFactor in October, 2012. The features of PhoneFactor go beyond texting your phone a TOTP, they have additional enhancements that make two-factor authentication more convenient and more secure. Phonefactor uses applications for smartphones, but they are also compatible with the old school touch tone phones. When you go to login, PhoneFactor will give you a call, and prompt you to press the pound key, simply press the button and you are in! This feature is attractive for businesses that like the security of two-factor authentication, but may not feel comfortable using an employee’s personal device to access company accounts. PhoneFactor can also protect your account by monitoring all login attempts. If a hacker pokes around in your login screen, PhoneFactor will call you and your IT department and notify everybody of an intruder alert.
In a PhoneFactor survey, 80% of respondents do not use two-factor security. This makes the online world a virtual playground for hackers who know how to bypass the password/login defense. We at PACE Technical Services can help, give us a call at 905.763.7896 and we will be happy to add two-factor authentication to your online accounts.