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What is Multi-Factor Authentication, and How Does it Work?

Dr. Abdulrahman Kaitoua
May 29, 2019

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Did you know that the global average cost of a data breach is almost 3.9 million dollars? With that high of stakes, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your confidential files stay protected.

If you still rely on outdated single-factor authentication, your data is vulnerable to attack. As hackers and phishing attempts become more advanced, you’ll need to start using multi-factor authentication to keep your information safe.

To find out more about multi-factor authentication and how it works, keep reading.

What is Multi-Factor Authentication?

Single- or two-factor authentication systems consist of the traditional username/password setup. Many people try to get by with strong passwords that they change often. Unfortunately, hackers are still able to bypass these security measures with relative ease.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) asks users to provide two or more pieces of information in addition to their username. As such, no one can access the secured data without verifying at least three separate factors.

How Multi-Factor Authentication Works

MFA may sound like a lot of extra hassle, but advances in biometric and mobile technology make it simple to use. Common MFA verification factors might include:

  • Face or voice recognition
  • Fingerprint scan
  • A swipe card or ID badge
  • Entering a PIN code or pattern
  • A known device token
  • Location information
  • Notifications on another device

For example, let’s assume that you’ve set up an MFA program on your laptop computer. In addition to signing in with your username and password, you could receive a push notification on your personal mobile device (like a cell phone or smartwatch) asking you to verify your login.

All you would have to do is click “accept” on your mobile device, and you’ve successfully logged into your extra-secure computer. It’s that easy!

Why Multi-Factor Authentication Is Important

MFA creates a layered security setup that makes it more difficult for hackers to succeed. When it’s in use, an attacker still has to break through another barrier even if they get ahold of both your username and password.

This is especially important for businesses that are trying to protect their data from phishing and ransomware. Phishing attempts have gotten much better at appearing legitimate, and even security-conscious employees can be duped into giving away their login credentials. If you have multi-factor authentication enabled, your data is much more likely to remain secure.

For an example of what can happen if you don’t use an MFA system, take a look back to the infamous JPMorgan Chase hack. One of the company’s servers wasn’t upgraded to require MFA access (password plus one-time code). This oversight led to the theft of 83 million people’s personal information.

How to Stay Safe with Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is an essential part of keeping your important files protected. If you’re ready to go ahead with an MFA solution, Acceptto can help. Our It’sME™ multi-factor authentication system puts you in charge to keep your information safe from attack.

It’sME™ provides users with intelligent risk-based Cognitive Continuous Authentication for mobile, web, cloud, and IOT networks. Schedule a free demo today to learn how ItsME™’s MFA solutions can help keep your life secured.

Read more about MFA “The 3 Types of Multi-Factor Authentication

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