Tip #5: Multi-Factor Authentication The security tip of the week this week focuses on multi-factor authentication and how it can help you add extra security to access points on electronic devices. A single authentication is considered to be something that only the user should know (e.g. password, PIN, a specific pattern) but is often not secure enough if the user is attempting to access confidential data on the device. It is important to check which level of authentication is best for you because authentication methods that depend on more than one factor are more difficult to compromise than a single-factor method. Dual-Factor Authentication Dual-factor authentication is similar to single authentication except it adds an additional authentication task and decreases the probability that the requester is presenting false evidence of it’s identify. Based on logic, the more factors involved, the lower probability that your information will be seized by an unwanted source. What makes it dual-factor authentication is including a step where a piece of the log in is something only the user has on his/her person. ATM cards are a good example of this added authentication because a person needs to have it on his/her person in order to even be able to put in their PIN. This dual factor authentication makes it harder to hack into because the intruder needs the physical card as well as the matching PIN. Another common dual factor is the cell phone. For example, let’s just say you wanted to securely log into your bank account on your computer. With dual factor authentication it would send a text to your cell phone with a generated passcode to add an extra security step to log in to your account on top of your stored, pre-existing passcode. As you can see, this is more challenging to hack into than a single, reoccurring password. The option for dual authentication is not available for every device you want to gain access to but you can often find the option in privacy settings and is as simple as adding the step to your login. Triple-Factor Authentication Triple-factor authentication includes both of the previous authentication tasks but also adds an additional task. This third task is a bit complex for the individual user and is costly to set up, but worth it in the long run if you want increased login security. This added factor has to involve something only the user is and normally involves biometric characteristics. Biometric authentication satisfies the regulatory definition of true multi-factor authentication and users may biometrically authenticate via their fingerprint, voiceprint, or iris scan using provided hardware and then enter a PIN or password in order to open the credential vault. The device scans the physical characteristic, extracts critical information, and then stores the result as a string of data. These precautions may seem extreme but security is constantly growing, even new laptops have fingerprint scanners and facial recognition. The average Joe might not necessarily need the triple-factor authentication but it’s a good habit to get into to set up dual-factor authentication for any account or device that you can. If you’d like to stay up to date with the latest security trends please subscribe to our weekly newsletter (middle of the page on the right) and feel free to download our free consumer version of nCrypted Cloud or check out our free trial of the enterprise version.