What is 2 factor authentication?
2 factor authentication (2FA) is one specific type of multi-factor authentication. The basic idea behind this type of authentication is to require ‘something the user possesses’ (a device of some kind), in addition to ‘something the user knows’ (username/password/pin).
This provides an extra layer of security when logging into an online account. Whilst there are many types of 2FA, the most popular today are SMS codes and software tokens, where the user instals an ‘authentication’ application on their smartphone, and when prompted by the site the user is attempting to log into, must input a code generated by the application.
Why might you want to use two factor authentication?
With cybercrime increasing six hundred percent in recent years (source), passwords just aren’t strong enough to protect your most valuable details, such as banking details, or cryptocurrency wallets. As users create more and more online accounts, they tend to recycle or slightly modify old passwords, this means that in the event of a data breach, their login details may be compromised, and at risk of being sold on the dark web and possible identity theft. 2FA can help to prevent this as the login code is either generated by or sent to a device only the user should have access to.
How to protect your Google account with 2FA
With Google being one of the most popular email servers around (as well as the other services it provides), it is important to keep your account locked down with the help of 2 factor authentication. Firstly, go to your Google Account and make sure you are signed in, then go to the “Security” tab. Select the option to enable 2FA under the “signing in to Google” section. Follow the instructions and verify your mobile device. Once this is complete you can download the Google authentication app for Android or Apple and sign in. Now, whenever you or someone else tries to access your account, you will be sent a prompt to confirm on your smartphone.
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