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What is two factor authentication?

For many years now, users have gained access to secure computing services by entering a user name and password.  This common everyday action for all of us, is called single factor authentication. While this approach has worked for a long time, it has now fallen prey to cyber criminals.  The surge in phishing attacks alongside password stealing malware means single factor authentication no longer cuts the mustard. Users are now turning to Two Factor Authentication (sometimes known as Dual Factor or Multi Factor). This improves security by adding an additional factor, which is resilient to attack.  Adding this extra layer of security,  protects accounts against phishing attacks, social engineering, password brute force attacks and secures your logins from attackers exploiting weak or stolen credentials.

The additional factor is often a password or code, which is frequently sent to a different, trusted device.  Codes can be sent by text or email or via an authenticator app.  Often it is time limited (usually to one minute or less). Aldo,  biometric indictors such as fingerprints and voice recognition are increasingly being used as the additional security factor.

Google recently completed a year long study into phishing attacks, in conjunction with New York University and University of California.  They found that the simple act of adding a recovery phone number to your google account can block 100% of automated bots and 99% of bulk phishing attacks.  Worryingly the vast majority of gmail users still don’t use 2FA.  The feature is offered with many of the accounts we use for personal email (gmail, yahoo etc) but most people do not enable it.  We strongly recommend 2FA is enabled for Office 365, as access to your business email can be a dangerous route into your network for criminals.

It is worth noting, that there have been some recent high profile cases were implementation of 2FA has been court ordered.  In addition to an $18.5 million fine, resulting from a data breach, the US company Target was instructed to implement specific security procedures, including 2FA.   It is widely recognised a security best practice.


How can RedMosquito help?

We recommend 2FA as a key factor of a multi-layered approach to cyber security.   Our Technical Consultants can advise on how to apply this to your systems.    There are different options for deployment and we can identify which suits your needs best.   No single security feature is a guaranteed fail safe but 2FA can substantially improve the security of both your work and personal accounts.  So, even if your password has been compromised, your accounts are still secure.  Why don’t you contact us today if you need advice.

RedMosquito provies IT Support in Glasgow, Edinburgh and throughout central Scotland. 



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