While passwords are undeniably important, in many cases it is extremely useful to introduce a second layer of cyber protection for your online accounts. The use of two or more verification methods to gain access to online accounts or applications is known as multi-factor authentication. This ensures extra cyber safety in the case of a password being compromised.
A multi-factor authentication system can be set up on various platforms, engaged when signing-in on a new or unrecognised device. In this case, after entering the usual username and password requirements, another mode of verification will be requested. This may take the form of a code being sent as a text to your phone or generated in an authentication app, or the use of a fingerprint. Therefore, if a criminal is able to bypass your username and password, they will be much less likely to gain access to accounts or information when multi-factor authentication is implemented. Many apps or services will only ask for multi-factor authentication when accessing accounts on a new device, so this does not tend to impact the daily usage of most services.
Some accounts or applications will always ask for multiple layers of authentication before allowing access. This is often seen in online banking, which may require passwords, OTP (one-time password) codes sent as a text, and fingerprint verification. As OTP codes are usually newly generated at each sign-in attempt, no extra passwords are typically required to be memorised.
Easy to set up and straightforward to use, multi-factor authentication is very effective and proves a simple way to increase day-to-day cyber security.