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What is 2-Factor Authentication (2FA)?

Two-Factor Authentication, also known as 2FA, is an extra layer of security that requires users to use both their online password and their mobile phone to verify their identity.

In addition to using their service credentials to access an account or sensitive data, the user also receives a one-time passcode or PIN number via SMS, or via a physical token that generates the code.

What are the advantages of 2FA?

The advantage of using a mobile phone for 2FA is that users tend to carry their mobile devices with them at all times. That way, services can ensure that their users receive the verification PIN over something that only they have access to. The one-time PIN (OTP) number is generated and sent to the user’s mobile phone. The user receives the OTP and types it into the application to confirm their identity.

How secure is 2FA?

2FA is considered very secure as long as a person’s mobile phone is not lost or stolen. In this scenario it is theoretically possible that it could be used to access an account or validate a transaction if the person in possession of the phone also knew the rightful owner’s login details and password.

3-factor authentication (3FA) mitigates this risk by requiring an additional biometric check that is impossible to forge – like a fingerprint or iris scan.