We keep a lot of sensitive information online.
From our phone numbers to our banking information, there’s tons of data out there we don’t want strangers to see.
A strong password or passphrase is a great step towards keeping that information safe. But it’s not the only step you can take.
Many online services offer multi-factor authentication: an extra level of security that needs multiple pieces of proof to log you in.
There are three types of information used to keep you secure:
- Things you know, like passwords and passphrases
- Things you own, like your phone
- And things that are a part of you, like your fingerprints.
All of that might sound complicated, but no worries — multi-factor authentication is actually something you use all the time!
Take an ATM, for example:
You need your card and your PIN to take out money, right? That's something you know and something you have. And if you only have one or the other, it won’t work.
The same goes for any website with multi-factor authentication. If someone has your password but no access to, say, your smartphone, they won’t be able to get into your account.
Those are just two examples, but multi-factor authentication can come in many of forms.
Some common ones you might see are:
- Two-step verification
- Application-based authenticators
- and Hardware based tokens.
So the next time a website asks you to enable multi-factor authentication, you know what to do to stay cyber safe.
Visit getcybersafe.ca for more information and advice on all things cyber security.
Video: Multi-factor authentication
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