What Is Two-Factor Authentication?

The internet environment is a vast place. People have the opportunity to exchange information while socializing through the internet. However, they have to use a password when they become members of the social media platforms they communicate with. In terms of account security, it is very important to use a password. As a matter of fact, in some cases, the password is not enough. In this case, two-factor authentication comes into play. So what is two-factor authentication?

Website accounts, social media accounts and operating systems of phones have a password requirement for security. Some sites even have strong, difficult, and lengthy password suggestions to ensure that the password is not easily intercepted by attackers. However, despite everything, it is not enough to just create a password. Other protection techniques are therefore required. In this article, we will explain what two-factor authentication is, which is closely related to password security.

What Is Two-Factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication, aka 2FA, is a system that enhances account security by using two methods to verify your identity. In other words, this system requires two different forms of identity. 2FA exists to better protect both the user’s credentials and the resources that the user will access. This security system provides better security than single-factor authentication, which the person provides by simply creating a password.

Two-factor authentication makes it harder for identity thieves to gain access to a person’s devices or online accounts. Because even if the password of the person concerned is compromised, it will not be enough just to enter the correct password. There will also be additional processes required by two-factor authentication to ensure full access to the account.

2FA has long been used to control access to sensitive systems and data. There are even many social media accounts that use this system. Because social media accounts are completely the focus for attackers. Nowadays, many people’s Instagram accounts have become victims of identity thieves. Although people try methods such as creating a strong password or opening a new account, there are still gaps in security.

That’s why social media accounts, which are particularly popular, have been using two-factor authentication for a long time. In this way, people can easily become members of the relevant platforms and perform security verification. As with many security systems, two-factor authentication has a certain working system. Now let’s give information about this topic.

How Does Two-Factor Authentication Work?

After explaining what two-factor authentication is in our article, it would be good to give information about how this system works. This verification system consists of step-by-step stages. In addition, this system varies according to the application or website owner. However, this authentication generally follows a process as follows.

  • First, the system prompts the user to log on.
  • As soon as the user enters their information and clicks the sign-in option, the site’s server finds a match and recognizes the user.
  • For transactions that don’t require a password, the website generates a unique security key for the user. The authentication tool also processes the key, and the site’s server validates the key.
  • The site then prompts the user to initiate the second logon step. This step takes place in various methods. For example, biometric encryption is one of these methods. Biometric encryption consists of encryption methods such as fingerprinting, voice recognition or facial recognition. In addition, providing evidence with an ID card, security token, smartphone, or other mobile device is also used in the second sign-in step.
  • Then, the user may need to enter a one-time code. On the phone where the one-time code is entered, the user will not be subject to entering the code again when the ‘Trust this phone’ option is activated. Likewise, when logging into the relevant application from another device, it is another method to give approval from the phone on which the ‘Trust this phone’ option is activated.
  • After users complete these steps, authentication occurs and they are granted access to the app or website.

What Are the Types of Two-Factor Authentication?

If you just need to enter a password on any site or app you’ve used, salyou will be more likely to be nailed down. So, if the app has a two-factor authentication option, we recommend using this system. A two-factor authentication system is not just of a single type. This system also has different types in itself. Now let’s make a statement about this issue.

Hardware Token for 2FA

One of the older types of two-factor authentication is hardware tokens. This type generates a new numeric code every 30 seconds. When the user tries to access an account, they look at the device and enter the 2FA code they see on the site. Other versions of hardware tokens automatically transfer the code when plugged into the computer’s USB connection. Hardware tokens have advantages as well as disadvantages. This is also related to cost. It is expensive for businesses to deploy these units.

SMS and Voice based 2FA

SMS-based 2FA interacts directly with the user’s device. After entering the username and password on the site, a text message comes to the user. This message contains a one-time password. Just like hardware tokens, in the SMS-based 2FA type, the user must enter the one-time password into the application before accessing the relevant application.

Likewise, in the voice-based 2FA type, the system calls the user and asks him to transmit the 2FA code verbally. Voice-based 2FA is not very common today. But it is still used in countries where smartphones are expensive and the internet is slow.

Sites or applications that do not pose a high risk can be authenticated with SMS and voice-based 2FA. But in areas like utilities, banks, and email accounts, this type of authentication will fall short. That’s why many companies prefer more secure authentication than SMS- and voice-based 2FA.

Software Tokens

Software tokens are used as an alternative to the SMS and voice-based type of two-factor authentication. This type of 2FA is among the most popular. In order to activate this type, users must first download and install the 2FA application on their devices. After this download, users can perform their operations on any application that supports the software token and application.

Users enter their username and password before signing in. They then look at the relevant 2FA application for the code and perform the login process. Similar to hardware tokens, software tokens often contain code that is valid for less than 1 minute. Since these codes are generated from the same device, hackers will be less likely to steal accounts.

Biometric Verification

In addition to confirmation codes, biometric verification is also widely used in two-factor authentication. This type of authentication includes methods such as fingerprinting, facial recognition, and retina scanning. Biometric verification is mostly used for keystroke lock of phones. The phone does not turn on without features such as facial recognition or fingerprints of the person. In addition, the owner of the phone enters a password on the key lock in case of any mishap.

Biometric Verification

Push Notification

It’s pretty good to use the push notification option instead of using a one-time password for 2FA. Many websites and apps now use the push notification type. When this type of 2FA user enters their account, a push notification is sent. The device owner reviews the details and confirms or denies access with a single tap. This type of 2FA allows you to perform the operation without a code or password.

What are the Advantages of Two-Factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication is a security system that protects the sensitive data of users, companies or site owners and prevents data breaches. One of the most effective methods against cyber attackers who try to infiltrate the infrastructures of many organizations that adopt the remote working model is to adopt the 2FA structure. This method of security has many advantages.

One of the advantages of two-factor authentication is to reduce the occurrence of cyber attacks such as online fraud and phishing. In this way, important data and sensitive information are protected. The passwords that you have to share with your colleagues as required by the system also become effective when you use the 2FA method.

Two-factor authentication includes out-of-band authentication methods. With this method, the user’s information is required to be verified by a second verification via code sent via e-mail or SMS. BThis method is also important in terms of data security.

Another advantage is the use of location verification and time restriction methods for secure access. For this, users are asked to verify simultaneously. Thanks to the simultaneous verification method, no one other than the person concerned can steal the account and data information.

Fingerprint and face ID are also important in two-factor authentication. This method plays an effective role in protecting the devices of smartphone users. People whose fingerprint and face ID don’t match can’t access the device.

Is Two-Factor Authentication Secure Enough?

Two-factor authentication is much more secure than the method you enter using only a password. Because your account’s username, password, even email is likely to be found. This increases the chances of your account being stolen. However, when you enable two-factor authentication on your account, you need to enter the code that comes to your phone to gain access to your account. It becomes impossible for anyone other than you to know this code. If your phone hasn’t been stolen or lost, 2FA works just fine.

Likewise, the fingerprint or facial recognition features you have added to your phone allow only you to access your device. In fact, even when making transactions with your credit card at ATMs, you are using two-factor authentication. Normally, you need to start the transaction as soon as you insert your card into the ATM. However, you need to enter your password before you can take action. This suggests that a kind of two-factor authentication has come into play.

Nowadays, many social media platforms, messaging apps, and online sites use two-factor authentication. Instead of making this security system mandatory, they leave it to the user’s preference. Users need to enter their phone numbers into their accounts to protect their social media accounts with two-factor authentication. In this case, people can stop using the authentication system. But entering contact information on platforms is less harmful than identity thieves stealing password-protected accounts only.

Overall Rating

Many of the password and username combinations are highly susceptible to being intercepted by hackers. This situation brings with it corporate data breaches. When your account information on any website is exposed or your social media accounts are decrypted and stolen, you may be unable to retrieve your accounts. This is a very dangerous situation.

No matter how much you control login gestures or create a strong password, you won’t be able to provide complete protection against a data breach. The most effective way to ensure account security is through two-factor authentication. This verification system adds an extra layer of security to your account. In this way, the risk of your account or data being stolen will be greatly reduced.

Today, online service providers use two-factor authentication against hackers who steal users’ credentials or even use phishing campaigns. Over time, there are many platforms that have switched to this security system. As a result, users’ accounts become more secure and difficult to access.

Our guide to what is two-factor authentication, which we have prepared for you, ends here. Don’t forget to share your questions and thoughts about two-factor authentication with us in the comment section below.

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