Why Using Two-Step Authentication Is Important
The password is the main security barrier that we can have in our accounts. It is what is going to prevent anyone from entering. However, what would happen if that passkey is leaked? It can happen due to a security attack, a failure in the service we are using, that you just guess …
To prevent this from happening we can use the two-step or 2FA authentication. Its function is to add an extra layer of security to our accounts. If an intruder found out the key for whatever reason, he would find that second step and without it he would not be able to enter. It will allow our email, social networks such as Facebook or a platform to buy online such as Amazon, to be more protected from third parties.
It is very important to use this method to improve security, but it is especially so at a time when we have more and more online accounts, more sensitive information that we send and receive, bank accounts, payments … It is necessary to have an additional barrier that acts as a defense.
We can do this second step by different methods. One of them is to receive a code by SMS. It is the most common. Basically we have to verify the account with that message we receive. However, this is not the safest thing, since there are Trojans that are capable of reading those SMS and thus skipping the 2FA. An example is the Cerberus malware.
Another option is to use a external application that provides us with a code to authenticate ourselves. There are several options, as we will see. The operation is the same: verify through a second step that we are the legitimate user trying to access an account.
We are going to show some of the applications that we can use as 2FA. There are more and more services and social networks such as Facebook or Instagram, which allow you to configure multiple factor authentication through any of these applications and thus have greater security control. The general operation is the same, since they all serve to request that second step that will help improve security.
One of the most popular and used 2FA apps is Authy. It has a good user interface, synchronization between devices and is one of the most valued by users. It is available for iOS and Android, as well as desktop operating systems such as macOS, Windows, and Linux.
To use Authy we have to go to its official website. There we will find the download section and also information about the services with which it is compatible.
One of the most interesting aspects is that they allow you to make a backup and store it in your cloud. Allows you to create a password that only the user knows in order to access that copy. Of course, in case of forgetting it, we could not recover it.
Another of the most popular tools for using 2FA is Google Authenticator. Beyond being logically compatible with Google services, it is also compatible with practically any platform that uses multi-factor authentication.
We can use Google Authenticator on Android and also iOS. Like any application of this type, its mission is to authenticate us when logging into Amazon, Hotmail, Gmail … In any compatible service.
What it does is show us a 6 digit code that is changing every half minute. We have to put that code when we go to log in and, together with the password, it will allow us to identify ourselves and prevent any intruder from entering the account.
It is very useful to be able to identify ourselves in a new device and verify that we really are the legitimate user. Once we have already logged in to that computer, it will no longer ask for this double authentication since it already recognizes it.
One more alternative is Microsoft Authenticator. This type of program could not be missing for the software giant. It is also available for both Android and iOS and we can download the program from its official website.
It is also widely used and has great compatibility with most online services that use 2FA, beyond Microsoft’s own. It will show a code that we must put when we go to log in and the program is in charge of authenticating us and verifying that we are the legitimate user.
Zoho has a large number of online and cloud services. One of them is OneAuth, which allows us to authenticate when logging in to different compatible platforms and thus be able to verify that we are the legitimate user. One more program to the list to be able to increase security and avoid problems in our accounts.
We can enter its website and see that it has a version for Android and iOS. We can install it on different devices at the same time and choose one of them to be the main one. As in the previous cases, it will allow us to add an additional step to prevent a possible intruder from logging into a service simply by finding out the password.
In short, these are some applications that we can use to identify ourselves through multiple factors. We have named some of the most popular and that we can configure with email services, social networks or online stores where we have an account and are compatible with this type of tools.