Glossary

Two-factor authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication is a subset of the multi-factor authentication. 2FA is an additional security level which eliminates the password-only vulnerabilities. 2FA is also known as two-step authentication.

Two-factor authentication confirms the user’s identity based on two factors: 1) something they know (the password), and 2) something they have, or they are (security token, OTP, etc.).

With 2FA, just one of these factors won’t unlock access to the account. That means, even if the password is hacked or the phone is lost/stolen, the chances of a fraudster guessing your second-factor information is meager. 

Rise in cybercrime is the main reason for the urge in two-step authentication. 

The most common types of two-factor authentication:

  1. Hardware Tokens for 2FA. The oldest form of 2FA. The client sees the displayed code and then prints it down so to log in.
  2. SMS Text-Message. The one-time code is sent to a user’s device as a text message. 
  3. Voice-based 2FA. In this case, the user gets a phone call with the verbally announced code. 
  4. Software Tokens for 2FA. That is the preferred alternative to voice and text passwords announcement. Once a user downloads a 2AF app, he/she will be able to log in by using the code shown on the app. 
  5. Push Notification for 2FA. The website or an app sends a user a push notification. As a result, he/she can approve or deny the authentication with a single touch of a finger. 

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