Why Two-Factor Authentication Is Even More Important Post-COVID
Staying safe in a post-COVID-19 world doesn’t just mean washing your hands and wearing a mask. Cybersecurity is in an especially sensitive situation. Hackers are preying on people who are working from home and don’t know any better. Luckily, two-factor authentication can help keep you and your business safe.
What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?
The process is pretty straightforward. Before gaining access to an account, you have to verify your identity through a second method. This second method is completely separate from your main account. The second method could be a cell phone, a landline phone, or an email account.
After inputting your correct information, the account will send a verification code to this second method.
For example, you’ll input your login information for your Outlook account. A shortcode will then be sent to your cell phone number. You have to input the code in Outlook to verify your identity and finally gain access.
Why Does Two-Factor Authentication Matter?
It’s a simple step that can wind up saving your account. Hackers can use something called “password cracking” to get into your account. It essentially keeps guessing passwords until it finally guesses correctly and gets into your account.
With enough time, a hacker can guess the password to any account. With two-factor authentication, the hacker also needs access to your cell phone or email account. This makes their work even harder, thanks to the second line of defense protecting your accounts.
Why Does COVID-19 Impact the Need for Two-Factor Authentication?
In the wake of the COVID-19, a number of businesses have started operating remotely. This means that coworkers are no longer going into a secure office and using secure internet. Many employees are at the mercy of their own internet and physical location.
Two-factor authentication protects these workers in two different ways.
Protection from Cyber Attacks
Since workers might not have secure internet connections, they are welcoming hackers into their accounts. An office typically has a number of different cybersecurity safeguards to protect everyone working on the network. Employee homes usually have no such thing.
That means that a hacker can access their computer and break the password, making their way into their account. If the employee doesn’t have two-factor authentication on their Windows RDP or local logon, there’s nothing to stop the hacker.
Protection from Physical Attacks
The other thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that physical access to a computer can be just as dangerous as an internet attack. If the computer is left unattended and locked, someone can walk by and try to gain access to the computer.
Two-factor authentication will stop these attempts in their tracks. Even with the password, they can’t access the account.
What Can You Do?
Don’t worry, you’re not helpless here. A lot of sites and applications have the ability to turn on two-factor authentication. It might be worthwhile to discuss the plan with your IT department and see if you can change the company policy. Enforce two-factor authentication on everyone’s device in order to stop a breach of your data.
The process of setting up two-factor authentication couldn’t be easier. In most cases, you opt-in for the program, then it has you set up the secondary device. You’ll input either a phone number or email address. They’ll send you an initiation code and then you’re set up.
By requiring your employees to use two-factor authentication, you can ensure that their device and accounts are safe even if their computer gets compromised. It protects against physical and cyber-attacks.
Now you know more about two-factor authentication and how it fits into a post-COVID-19 world. As more jobs are becoming digital and remote, it’s time to rethink how we approach account security. It’s hard to protect all of the remote devices being used by your employees, but at least you can add two-factor authentication to your security stack.