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Larilyn’s Tip of the Week: 2 Factor Authentication

Do you guys have little sayings that help you remember things?  For example, 30 days hath September, April, June and November.  All the rest have 31, except for February who can’t keep it together to make it to the end of a month.

Wait.  I may have improvised the end of that one.
Or the one I’ve heard parents use to figure out the limits on presents at Christmas time?  Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.
Well when it comes to security on your computer – whether it be your actual computer log in, or your email log in, or your financial institution log in, there’s a saying for the different types of security that can be used.

Something you know – this can be anything from a user name and password, to a PIN number, to a secret pass phrase

Something you have – an ID of some sort or a cell phone where you can receive verification codes, or use an authenticator app

Something you are – think biometrics, eye scans, or fingerprint confirmationMost sites we use rely on option number 1.  Something you know.  If you have your user name and password, you are in.  

However, more and more we are moving to two factor (or even multi factor) authentication.

What does this mean?  Well – your user name and password is one factor of the security equation.  That is one factor authentication.  To use two factor, you use a second option of the security equation.

Many phones and even some laptops will take the something you are approach – relying on your finger print or facial recognition to let you access your device.

Many platforms, such as Google for your Gmail, allow 2 Factor as an easy option to turn on.  Once on – whenever you log in from a new device, it will want to confirm that it is you through a second level of authentication.  
The great thing about this is that you can have it send a code straight to your phone.  So no matter how hard a hacker tries to get into your email – even if they are sly enough to figure out that your password is f1ve1$b1gg3rthAnf0ur – they still won’t be able to get into your account.  As soon as they enter your correct password, it will automatically send you a code to your phone.  And they won’t have any way to guess the code before it expires.

Some sites will use an authenticator app – easily downloaded from your app store.  Then you scan a QR code so that their code will show up.  This allows you to go in and find a code for the site you are trying to log into instead of waiting for a code to be sent to you.
When it comes down to it, a lot of this can seem like a frustrating pain in the rear end.  However, it’s the world we live in.  The “bad guys” are getting smarter and smarter, and they don’t care who you are or how nice you are – they want to take advantage of you.  So it is important that you use any and all safety measures you can to ensure that you and your information are safe.

If you need help figuring out how to use two factor authentication, just reach out and we will be more than happy to help!