What is the Two-Factor Authentication and how to use it

In a moment when data protection is really challenged and digital crime and fraud happen more and more often is essential one takes care the best he / she can of their data. Logins, usernames and passwords must be protected as best as possible. And here it comes into action the 2FA. But what is it? Two-factor authentication (2FA), often referred to as two-step verification, is a security process in which the user provides two authentication factors to verify they are who they say they are.  2FA can be contrasted with single-factor authentication (SFA), a security process in which the user provides only one factor -- typically a password.

Using a Two Factor Authentication process can help to lower the number of cases of identity theft on the Internet, as well as phishing via email, because the criminal would need more than just the users name and password details.

According to TechFactor, two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security and makes it harder for attackers to gain access to a person's devices and online accounts, because knowing the victim's password alone is not enough to pass the authentication check. "Two-factor authentication has long been used to control access to sensitive systems and data, and online services are increasingly introducing 2FA to prevent their users' data from being accessed by hackers who have stolen a password database or used phishing campaigns to obtain users' passwords".

As PCMag's lead security analyst Neil J. Rubenking put it, "there are three generally recognized factors for authentication: something you know (such as a password), something you have (such as a hardware token or cell phone), and something you are (such as your fingerprint). Two-factor means the system is using two of these options."

"Biometric scanners for fingerprints and retinas or faces are on the upswing thanks to innovations such as the iPhone X's Face ID and Windows Hello, but we are still far from ubiquity. In most cases, including 2FA for your Google account and other popular services, the extra authentication is simply a numeric code; a few digits sent to your phone, which can only be used once," added PCMag.

Moreover, according to ssd.eff.org, several online services—including Facebook, Google, and Twitter—offer 2FA as an alternative to password-only authentication. If you enable this feature you’ll be prompted for both a password and a secondary method of authentication. This second method is typically either a one-time code sent by SMS or a one-time code generated by a dedicated mobile app that stores a secret (such as Google Authenticator, Duo Mobile, the Facebook app, or Clef). "In either case, the second factor is your mobile phone, something you (normally) possess. Some websites (including Google) also support single-use backup codes, which can be downloaded, printed on paper, and stored in a safe location as an additional backup. Once you’ve opted-in to using 2FA, you’ll need to enter your password and a one-time code from your phone to access your account."

More on the subject you can read here and here.