Written by: Rusty Prater
“DID YOU ATTEMPT TO LOGIN FROM THIS DEVICE?”
The most dreaded of emails hits your inbox sending you into a moment of panic. But let that fear wash away like so many tears in the rain, you have two-factor authentication on your important online accounts! What’s that…. you don’t? Well first change your password to whatever hacking attempt you just suffered and then let me explain.
Two Factor Authentication, or 2FA, for short, is the process of setting up a second password or verification on your important accounts to thwart even the most devious of hackers. According to a report from Gitnux Market Data, 2FA can stop 100% of automated bots, 96% of phishing attacks, and 76% of targeted attacks.
The most common 2FA users are smart phone based, up to 73%, who receive an alert on their phone anytime an entry is attempted. With a simple “Yes, it’s me” click on your phone you can access your account, or if it’s not you “I don’t recognize this device” will shut down any hacker in their tracks.
You might think it will never happen to you or that you, Eagle Eyed Reader, can spot a phishing attack from a mile away. But statistics from dataprot.net say that over 20 million Microsoft email accounts are probed daily. Even more sinister are targeted emails, those have a whopping 47% effectiveness rate. Not everyone can catch every front-line hack attempt but with two-factor authentication backing you up, you won’t need to.
This isn’t an excuse to be flippant with your front-line defense though. 81% of security threats are caused by weak passwords. Password123 isn’t going to cut it. Try to make yours’ something that isn’t easily found online either. Children or pet names, current or former street address names, your favorite sports teams, all are found with a few social media profile trips. There are also software companies that will store a bank of your passwords and accounts for easier logins. But be careful with those. The largest company, Last Pass, was recently hacked itself. So, it can happen to anyone.
It can be an extra step to secure your online accounts but the headaches and damage it can prevent further down the line are well worth the effort.