Passwords are slowly reaching their point of extinction, emphasis on the slowly. It’s too easy to create a weak password, and it’s way too easy to crack one; therefore, something must be done, and everybody knows it.
It simply boils down to the ‘when.’ When will society overcome the convenience associated with a password and hop on over to a more complex sign-on method? And, surprisingly, it may come sooner than we all think thanks to 2-factor authentication.
2-factor authentication can be an alternative or additional layer to the customary password, and can be applied in a variety of ways. CNET describes these ways or methods as something you have, something you are, and something you know.
Something you have
All three categories are self-explanatory in nature; therefore, something you have is something you have. When you enable 2-factor authentication and utilize this approach, you will receive a notification asking you to approve the login, usually a push notification on your smartphone. Even if someone has physical access to your computer or if there is keylogging software installed on your computer, they still could not reach your inbox.
Something you are
Something you are would involve a biometric identifier, such as a fingerprint or retinal scan, which isn’t as far-off or as high-tech as you may think it is. Google is currently working on a project that involves identifying a user not by whatthey say, but by how they say it. Considering many cyber security analysts believe a fingerprint can be just as hackable in the future as a password is, this is an innovative idea that may just be the level and convenience of security everyone is looking for.
Something you know
Many of us actually utilize this method of 2-factor authentication without even realizing it. This would involve answering a question with a predetermined answer, such as, “What is the name of your favorite football team?” Websites tend to stick with the same questions and people tend to stick with the same answers, making this category not as secure as it should be. For instance, the football question only has a few possible answers, which makes it easy to crack. And if it happens to be a question regarding your maiden name or the street you grew up on, that’s easily found on your Facebook page, LinkedIn, or online dating profile. You see the point.
There’s no reason you shouldn’t apply 2-factor authentication to any of your online accounts that offer it. Even using something as basic as “something you know” adds a second layer of protection to your account. A second layer makes it more difficult for hackers to crack your password and may give you the opportunity to change login credentials after a breach occurs and before your account is accessed. Although it may add a few seconds to the login process, it’s well worth it.