What is Multi-Factor Authentication?
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), sometimes referred to as two-factor authentication or 2FA, is a security enhancement that allows you to present two pieces of evidence – your credentials – when logging in to an account. Your credentials fall into any of these three categories: something you know (like a password or PIN), something you have (like a smart card or mobile device), or something you are (like your fingerprint). Your credentials must come from two different categories to enhance security. Entering two different passwords would not be considered multi-factor.
Why is MFA important?
MFA helps protect you by adding an additional layer of security. This makes it harder for bad guys to log in as if they were you. Your information is safer because thieves would need to steal both your password and your phone. You would definitely notice if your phone went missing, so you’d report it before a thief could use it to log in. Plus, your phone should be locked, requiring a PIN or fingerprint to unlock. As a result it is even less useful if someone wants to use your MFA credentials.
Using 2FA is one of the top three things that security experts do to protect their security online, according to a recent Google survey.
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