Difference between Two-Factor and Multi-Factor Authentication
Posted on: February 7th, 2020
Just using a password is no longer secure enough. All it takes is someone to crack the password, and they are in. And people tend to use the same passwords across multiple accounts, so hackers will have access to everything. Business needs to implement additional authentication – but what is the difference between Two-Factor Authentication and Multi-Factor Authentication?
Two-Factor Authentication (or 2FA) is now widely used on many consumer applications such as Gmail and Facebook. It provides an additional layer of security by combining something you know, like a password, with something you have, such as a mobile phone. Once both factors are verified, the user gains access to the application or system. By enabling 2FA, a hacker would require the user’s password as well as a way to obtain the second factor to gain access.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) takes it a step further than 2FA. It combines something you know, something you have, and something that is unique to your physical being, like your fingerprint. This could be Windows Hello or TouchID on your phone. 2FA is actually a subset of MFA. Multi refers to more than one, so it could technically be two, three or more. The additional authentication factors provide more robust security.
Whether your business is using two factors or more, 2FA or MFA is a great way to make it harder for attackers to break into your enterprise. Phishing and social engineering are so prevalent. MFA helps eliminate these risks – it is easy for an employee to type their password into a dodgy website, but a lot harder for them to give out their phone or fingerprint.
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