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  • Mar 20, 2024

Tech Talk with Jeff - Multifactor Authentication

This topic is one I have not discussed in a while - Multifactor Authentication. Why would I want to make it harder to log in to my accounts?

Even though it makes more work for you to log in, it also makes it much harder for a hacker to access your accounts. Think about it, when you log in to an account on the internet you enter your username and password, that is it. Here are the issues with using just those two items.

Username: Usernames are generally known and out there for anyone to see. Particularly because a lot of sites use your email address as the username. There’s no real security with that part of the login process, so it barely counts, if at all.

Password: Let’s face it, most people’s passwords are too short and easily cracked by password cracking software. Most people use the same password on multiple sites which is dangerous because if a hacker has the password for one site, they will try all the standard sites out there that everyone uses and will access those sites as well. And most people use things from their personal lives in their passwords to make it easier to remember. Hmm…Facebook? Oh, that’s my dog’s name. Let’s try that to help hack the password.

So, just using a username and password is a weak method of protecting your accounts on the Internet. Also, thinking hackers won’t bother with you is dreaming. They use tools to sort through tons of accounts very fast. And then there are all the breaches where your passwords have been compromised. Yes, they are out there for the taking on the dark web (another topic).

So what can you do? When available, always add multifactor authentication. Multifactor authentication adds another roadblock to getting into your account that requires you to enter something you are, like a fingerprint, or something you have, like a token or your cell phone. These methods can be violated by hackers, but it is much harder for them to do.

The two most common multifactor methods are having a text message sent to your phone or using a code generator, like the Google Authenticator, that you use to get a code to enter during the login process. Both methods work well. Personally, I prefer the code generator. I think that is more secure and has less of a chance of someone intercepting it.

So yes, this is an added step, but if you factor in the amount of pain you experience trying to get control back of your accounts and dealing with the damage done to you being breached, it is worth the extra effort.

Be aware and be safe!

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