If you’re worried about hackers stealing your password or are unfortunately prone to clicking on links which you shouldn’t, there’s one handy tool that can effectively block anyone from gaining access to your account, even if they have your password.
It’s called multfactor authentication or MFA. You’re likely already familiar with MFA in some shape or form. If you've ever logged into a website and they asked you to confirm a code that was sent to your phone, you’ve used MFA.
Sometimes, a random, ever-changing number lives on an app or a keychain device — the principle is the same. There’s a unique code which only you have, and this confirms your identity.
More simply put, MFA is like having two passwords. In that vein, MFA is also sometimes called ‘two-factor’ authentication, as it requires two pieces of code to confirm your login.
Today, there is hardly a single website, service or platform that does not allow you to enable MFA. However, the problemis MFA is rarely enabled by default. This is quickly changing in today’s climate, but even the most popular sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook do not flip this feature on by default. Some sites like LinkedIn only recently started offering it.
However, in most situations, a simple trip into the “settings” or “account management” webpage of your favorite site will let you turn this on and kick things off. Sometimes these settings are hidden under “security and privacy” sections, but you should be able to find them. If you can’t, reach out to the site support team to see if they support MFA. If they do not, be sure to use a highly secure password.
Even with the protection that MFA provides, passwords are becoming a thing of the past. Fast approaching on thehorizon, Microsoft is looking forward to a future with no passwords at all, relying on a combination of device-based authentication linked with an existing MFA app to confirm your login.
You may have already experienced this if you use the Authenticator app. If you’re using iOS, the authenticator app will unlock with your FaceID, and then prompt you to confirm it’s indeed you are logging in. The process is similar on Android, but with fingerprint recognition.
More apps will integrate with Microsoft’s authenticator in the future, so be on the lookout for any services that will let you use it. Look forward to a future without passwords, all thanks to MFA.
MFA — one extra step, lots of extra security.