Articles about Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is an electronic method used to verify the identity of a user before granting them access to a service or product, usually online. To verify their identity, the user must present two answers (factors) to the authentication mechanism. Both of these factors are exclusively and uniquely known to the user being authenticated. In simpler terms, when you attempt to log in and the system asks you for a password followed by another one-time password or security question, it is two-factor authentication in action. The mechanism is effective at preventing unauthorized access in case bad actors get access to one of the factors. This means that if a bad actor secures your password, not having the one-time password would still deny them access to your data. Factors could be physical objects in possession of the user, something the user knows uniquely, a physical characteristic of the user (biometrics), or somewhere the user is (location). However, like most security methods, two factor scratch that two-factor authentication isn't foolproof. Methods such as social engineering attacks, SIM cloning, and phishing attacks could obtain both the factors required to authenticate the login.