Before addressing the question ‘what is two-factor authentication’ , let’s consider why it’s important to do everything you can to improve your online account security. With so much of our lives happening on mobile devices and laptops, it’s no wonder our digital accounts have become a magnet for criminals. Malicious attacks against governments, companies, and individuals are more and more common. And there are no signs that the hacks, data breaches, and other forms of cybercrime are slowing down! Luckily, it’s easy for businesses to add an extra level of protection to user accounts in the form of two-factor authentication.
In recent years, we’ve witnessed a massive increase in the number of websites losing personal data of their users. And as cybercrime gets more sophisticated, companies find their old security systems are no match for modern threats and attacks. Sometimes it’s simple human error that has left them exposed. And it’s not just user trust that can be damaged. All types of organizations—global companies, small businesses, start-ups, and even non-profits—can suffer severe financial and reputational loss.
For consumers, the after-effects of targeted hack or identity theft can be devastating. Stolen credentials are used to secure fake credit cards and fund shopping sprees, which can damage a victim’s credit rating. And entire bank and cryptocurrency accounts can be drained overnight. A recent study revealed that in 2016 over $16 billion was taken from 15.4 million U.S. consumers. Even more incredible, identify thieves stole over $107 billion in the past six years alone.
Clearly, online sites and apps must offer tighter security. And, whenever possible, consumers should get in the habit of protecting themselves with something that’s stronger than just a password. For many, that extra level of security is two-factor authentication.