First things first:
What is multi-factor authentication?
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security measure that requires anyone logging into an account to complete a two-step process to prove their identity.
In short, multi-factor authentication makes it twice as hard for criminals to access an online account!
How does multi-factor authentication work?
By requiring two steps instead of one to log in, multi-factor authentication greatly increases the security of any account.
When MFA is activated, you’ll log in to your account with your username and password like normal, then complete an additional security step to finish the login process.
Examples of MFA methods include:
- Entering an additional code emailed to an account or texted to a mobile number
- Entering an extra PIN (personal identification number)
- Entering an answer to an extra security question like, “What’s your favorite pet’s name?”
- A biometric identifier, like facial recognition or a fingerprint
- A yes/no button or unique number generated by an authenticator app (like those from Microsoft, Google or Duo)
- A secure token, which is a separate piece of hardware (like a key fob that holds information) that verifies a person’s identity with a database or system
Not every account offers MFA, but it’s becoming more popular every day. You’ll see it on many accounts that hold either financial or personal information, including banks, financial institutions, online stores, and social media platforms.
Simply put: When MFA is available, always turn it on.
It’s easy to do, and it greatly increases your account security.