What is Two-Step Verification and Why You Should Use It | Digital Trends Spanish
The days of using a simple password are long gone. Today, millions of victims of hacks and personal data breaches have found that this measure is no longer sufficient. If you want to avoid surprises and bad times, you need to know what two-step verification is and why you should start using it.
The mechanism – also called two-factor authentication (2FA) – allows you to add an additional layer of security that protects your account if your password is stolen, making it difficult for cybercriminals to work.
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Companies like Google have already announced that they will make this mechanism mandatory for all their users, so it is likely that in the short term it will become a security element that is more familiar to all users.
What is 2-Step Verification
Two-step verification provides a higher level of security than single-factor authentication methods, which typically consist of a password or PIN. The idea is to provide greater protection of personal information.
In this way, it forces users to provide two mechanisms, also called authentication factors, to verify their identity and access their account. They are generally classified as follows:
- Something that you are: consider biometric methods such as fingerprints, facial recognition, retinal scanning, or voice identification. Most modern phones and computers already use it, although they are not yet without flaws.
- Something you know: it is the most used factor, but also the most vulnerable. It can be the password for our email account or the PIN number for our bank account.
- Something you have: It is controlled through a device –or some analog element- that is in the user’s power, such as a smartphone or a bank password generator.
For example, an attacker knows a user’s password (something you know), they will not be allowed access to their online account or mobile device, unless they provide a second mechanism, such as a fingerprint scan (something you have) .
Why you should use it
Two-factor authentication adds an additional layer of security needed against attacks and increases your security. If you are not convinced, these are the benefits it offers you:
- Millions of people unknowingly have your personal information (including your username and password) available for anyone to see.
- Many use the same password on multiple sites, so a hacker could try to use the same login information on all of them.
- When you don’t rely on a password, you improve security and reduce the risk of identity theft.
Can two-step verification be violated?
Yes, two-step verification is not foolproof, although the likelihood of it happening is low. And much less relative to the one-factor method. The best known cases have occurred with SMS or automatic calls that provide one-time passwords. However, to gain access to this information, hackers must first trick telephone companies into transferring someone else’s number to them.
How to activate 2-Step Verification
Most services offer mechanisms to activate two-step verification, although it is a process that you must perform individually for each of your accounts. Next, we leave you the links where you can find how to use them: