Intercepting them as they are transmitted over the network.
Multi-factor authentication is sometimes called two-factor authentication or two-step verification, and it is often abbreviated to MFA.
MFA is a cybersecurity measure for an account that requires anyone logging in to prove their identity multiple ways. Typically, you will enter your username, password, and then prove your identity some other way, like with a fingerprint or by responding to a text message.
MFA makes it extremely hard for hackers to access your online accounts, even if they know your password.
We recommend that you implement MFA for any account that permits it, especially any account associated with work, school, email, banking, and social media.
How does MFA work?
When you turn MFA on for an account or device, your log-in process will require a bit more verification.
You will be asked for your username and password.
If these are correct, you will then be prompted to prove your identity another way.
You might be able to set up your smartphone, for example, to use a facial scan as verification. Other online accounts might send your phone number or email address a one-time use code that you must enter within a certain frame of time. Some accounts will require you to approve access with a standalone authenticator app like Duo or Google Authenticator.
The three categories of multi-factor authentication methods
A multi-factor authentication method is typically categorized in one of three ways:
Something you know—PIN, password or answer to a security question Something you have—OTP, token, trusted device, smart card or badge Something you are—face, fingerprint, retinal scan or other biometric
Forms of MFA
Inputting an extra PIN (personal identification number) as well as your password
The answer to an extra security question like “What town did you go to high school in?”
A code sent to your email or texted to your device that you must enter within a short span of time
Biometric identifiers like facial recognition or fingerprint scan
A standalone app that requires you to approve each attempt to access an account
An additional code either emailed to an account or texted to a mobile number
A secure token – a separate piece of physical hardware, like a key fob, that verifies a person’s identity with a database or system
What type of accounts offer MFA?
Not every account and device offer MFA, but it is becoming more common every day. You might already have it set up for your devices, like if you use a Face ID or fingerprint scan to unlock your phone or laptop. MFA is now often found in many workplaces and universities, too.
Here are some types of accounts that often offer MFA. Check to see if you can turn MFA on:
• Social media
• Online stores
MFA adds an entire layer of security on your important accounts beyond your password. Your data is precious and important – multiplying its protection is a great idea. Let’s use MFA everywhere!