Security, Can Two-factor Authentication Help?

Even the best password strategies stand little chance against a determined hacker. Today’s hacking software is capable of trying billions of combinations in a second, effectively reducing a once secure password to simply being a password that can be hacked in a reasonably short time period.

How do I protect my information now? Two-factor authentication offers an additional layer of protection. Simply described by Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, as using “something you know”, your password, and “something you have”, an object like your phone.

How does this work? Once you input your password on an unrecognized device, a code is generated and sent to your chosen object, like your phone. You must also enter the code to gain access to your account. Therefore, even if a person knows your password, they are still unable to access your account from an unrecognized device.

What if you don’t have your additional device? Many variable factors have been addressed for your convenience. If you’re out of cell range, your cell phone battery dies, it is possible to carry 10 codes written on a piece of paper in your wallet for easy access. If you do not want to have to use a new code each time you use an unrecognized device, it is possible to generate a code and make it effective for 30 days before having to obtain a new code.

What programs use this security? Although not available everywhere on the Internet yet, many well-known programs offer this security like Google/Gmail, LastPass (password storage program), Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, DropBox and Apple are just a few.

Remember the benefits of two-factor authentication when planning security measures for your business. This type of security can be used in almost any setting.