The Importance of Multi-Factor Authentication

A password is no longer enough to secure your information or data or prevent access to your many online accounts. A ‘password’ implies a single word without spaces; a ‘passphrase’ is often longer and encourages the use of spaces in between words – a great way to improve complexity. There are other reasons as to why passphrases are better than passwords:

  1. 1. Passphrases can be easier to remember without compromising on entropy (how unpredictable/complex credentials are)
  2. 2. The use of upper and lower case characters along with punctuation will help to satisfy complexity requirements

In addition to this, we would always recommend a credential manager to store this information securely. They can also be used to generate a unique passphrase for each account.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is the process by which a person proves their identity to gain access to information or data using more than one authentication method. This can be achieved by combining different credentials from multiple categories which often includes;

  • • A passphrase
  • • A smartcard or token (via authentication app or SMS text message)
  • • Biometrics (fingerprint or retina – but this is used more in the enterprise environment)

Whilst multi-factor authentication has been a feature in certain industries such as banking (in the form of One-Time-Passwords or OTP) for a few years now, a large number of home users are yet to adopt this improved security method.

When a sample group were asked in a recent study why they did not use MFA 41% said inconvenience was the primary reason (source University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University study).

With the addition to authentication apps for mobile devices, MFA is now easier and more efficient than ever before. To see which online services currently offer two-factor/multi-factor authentication check out this website twofactorauth.org.

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