Two Factor Authentication Explained in Simple English

two factor authentication can stop unauthorized  personnel and people from access files.

Two Factor Authentication (2FA) What it means?  What is the purpose? And is it safe? We have a lot to cover in 5 minutes. Additionally, we will include a few simple steps by step instructions to set-up two-step authentication on your most valuable logins. We know that some technical terms sound over our head cyber talk… our goal is to breakdown the information into clear, concise, and easy to digest language.

What is Two-Factor Authentication

 Reading this article will help clear the smoke. We will answer what is two-factor authentication and how it’s used to protect you. Because knowing the why makes the how easier and the implementation a must. 

Seven to ten percent of the U.S. population falls victim to identity fraud each year according to the Center for Victim Research. According to the 2019 Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec, cyber-criminals most often access IoT devices, seniors, and previously affected victims by using their passwords. 

 Keep reading as we show you how 2FA can increase your digital safety. Keeping in mind that two-factor authentication does not mean it’s unhackable. (RSA proved that high-profile 2FA-cybersecurity company data was breached.) But worth noting, two-factor authentication provides more protection than logging into your accounts without it.

Cyber-criminals are criminals and 99% of most criminals would prefer their jobs to be easier than harder. With this second layer of authentication that requires a different factor, chances are your hopeful hacker will move on. 

What do Two-Factor Authentications Mean? 

Two-factor authentication is a term that describes a multi-function method of login. In this case to input more than one factor into the login to gain entry. As it stands today, many US citizens use a one-factor authorization element for their online services, including banks and other financial data. This makes cybercriminals and hackers jobs a lot easier. What 2FA does is adds an additional layer of protection to the login process. Additionally, the 2-factors are of different factor types which increases the layer of difficulty.

photo shows a combination lock on the computer. add layers of protection to your login's.

What is An Authentication Factor?

Within the 3-factor types; I’m certain you have experienced two action types. If you ever got locked out of your Google account, you’d experienced a 2-factor verification process.  Firstly, you’re asked to verify your email address. Next, they’ll ask your preference for the second factor of authentication… such as a text, phone, or email. If you choose text message, they will text a code that’s time-sensitive which you have to text back.

Even when creating your Google business listing, a 2-factor authentication process is used. You can even request a mailed verification card. This card arrives via “snail” mail with your code printed that are needed as your second-factor verification

                         3 Authentication types Description:

*Authentication Type 1. Some types of response such as a password or shared secret.

*Authentication Type 2. Something only the user has knowledge or access to I.e., verification code, security questions and so on. 

showing an eye as the 2-factor authentication layer

*Authentication Type 3.  Biometric Identifiers the third factor, (not commonly in use at this time) but we’ve all witnessed this in science fiction movies, retina patterns, fingerprint scans, and voiceprints.

Two-Factor Authentication is a great start to double protect our accounts, However, there are a few other simple methods of protection we can employ.

  • Change our password regularly.
  • Use odd random sets of numbers and letters for logins. Or use a password manager to automatically do it for you. (link)
  • Check your financial accounts frequently I.e. banking and credit card accounts.
  • Don’t share your password with others.
  • View URL (website address) site that starts with https (s) or for secure sites that display a photo of a lock is recommended.

Finally, if you’re as busy as a bee (or not tech-savvy) for a few extra dollars you can sign up with a monitoring service like Identity Force, which monitors suspicious activity, sends alerts and offer insurance. There are others as well; I will list them below.

How to Engage Two-Factor Authentication

Two-Factor Authentication Google

  • Visit Google 2-Step verification Page (https://www.google.com/landing/2step/)
  • Click “Get Started”
  • On the next page tick “Get Started” (again)
  • Sign in to your Gmail account
  • Click to turn on 2 step verification. Enter your option, phone number or Text Message”.  
  • Click on “Send Code”
  • Enter the verification code then click “Done” 
  • 8. Click “trust this computer, if you are on a trusted computer, then click “Next”

Two-Factor Authentication iPhone

Since Apple has 2-step verification and Two Factor Authentication before turning on 2FA, confirm which feature you’re using. If you’re not sure, follow the below steps to determine:

  • Sign in to your Apple ID account page. 
  • In the Security section, look to see which feature is on
  •  two-factor authentication or two-step verification, 
  • If two-step verification is on, you will need to turn it off first.
hands in handcuff coming thru a computer demonstrating a caught cyber-criminal

To turn off: two-step verification

  • Sign in to your Apple ID account page.
  • In the Security section, click Edit.
  • Click “Turn Off Two-Step Verification”. 
  • Click again to confirm.
  • Verify your date of birth and create new security questions. You’ll receive a confirmation email confirming your two-step verification is off.
  • Remain logged in to iCloud. (Your Apple ID may be requested.)

***Note: If you are using your Mac with your Apple ID, you will need to change your Mac login password before setting up two-factor authentication. 

How to Turn on Two-Factor Authentication iPhone

  • Go to Settings> type your name> or Apple ID depending on model
  • Tap on Password & Security… enter Apple ID password, if asked
  • Next tap on Two-Factor Authentication

On your Mac:

  • Go to the Apple menu () > System Preferences. 
  • Click iCloud, then click Account Details. Enter the Apple ID password if asked.
  • Tick the Security tab.
  • Tick Turn on Two-Factor Authentication.

***Note remain logged-in to iCloud on each of your devices. 


Manage Two-Factor Authentication Facebook

  •    In the top-right corner of Facebook Tick, the arrow button >Click Settings> Security and Login.
  •    Scroll down to two-factor authentication and click Edit.
  •    Pick your preferred authentication method, follow the instructions. 
  •     To turn on, click “Enable” on your desired method. 

Two-Factor Authentication

Engage PayPal 2-Factor Authentication

  •      Log in to your PayPal account. Link
  •     View the pages, scroll down until you see security, click         
  •     On the Next page, click on Password and Pin Security
  •     Scroll down until you see Security Key: follow instructions
  •     Finally, click on the update or manage your security key to continue with the instructions. (see the last diagram)

*** Note this information seems hidden on PayPal pages, keep scrolling down until you get to their security info. Their two-factor authentication is free for mobile users only. The 2-level verification is requested each time you log in to your account.

 Conclusion:

The (www-World Wide Web) allows access to the world; whereas you can purchase products, services, entertainment and retrieve helpful information, which is a good thing. On the other hand, the internet’s easy connectivity creates opportunities for cyber-scammers, hackers, and identity thieves. Learn more ways to protect your computer, personal information, online files, and identify. 

Very Helpful.

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Deborah Pretty

Hi Everyone! I hope that the article you read today will be used as another building block to further grow your small business empire. PYTalkBiz.com was solely designed to help you reach your business goals, quickly and more efficiently!

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