Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

two factor authentication - secret double octopus

Two Factor Authentication, also known as 2FA, is an identity verification process that requires the access-requesting party (can be a person, software or machine) to produce to the authenticating party two identifiers – two factors – that are linked to its identity, instead of the typical single identifier – usually a password – required by default in many systems.

2FA is used to improve security by requiring an attacker to gain possession of both identifiers. Combination of identifiers used to authenticate users is typically comprised of something the user knows (i.e. a password), and either something the user has (i.e. a physical one-time passwords (OTP) generator device) or something the user is (i.e. biometric fingerprint or face).
For example, in order for users to be successfully authenticated, they need to know their password and also be in possession of their OTP generator. Many other combinations of identifiers can be used, including password plus SMS-code to a registered mobile device, password plus a biometric identifier from a fingerprint sensor, passwords plus answers to knowledge-based authentication questions, and more. More advanced implementation of 2FA can include a combination of authentication factors that do not include passwords, which are considered vulnerable. Implementing Two Factor Authentication, also known as 2FA, is an identity verification process that requires the access-requesting party (can be a person, software or machine) to produce to the authenticating party two identifiers – two factors – that are linked to its identity, instead of the typical single identifier – usually a password – required by default in many systems.

 

Frequently Asked Questions
How Does 2 Factor Authentication Work?

2FA is an authentication scheme that requires the access-requesting party (typically a user, but can also be software or a machine) to produce two identifiers – two factors – in order to be authenticated. In the typical case where a user is authenticated using 2FA, the authenticating service requests the first factor of authentication, which is usually a password. It then requests a second factor which is often times a one-time password (OTP) code that requires the user to be in possession of the OTP generator device. The second factor of authentication can also be a biometric signature, an SMS code that is send to a registered mobile device, knowledge-based authentication questions, and more.