What is 3-factor authentication (3FA)?

Three-factor authentication is the use of a person’s live biometric data in addition to their security credentials and an authentication code sent by SMS.

3FA provides the highest possible level of user security for accessing accounts and making transactions.

Biometric authentication may include a fingerprint, a retina scan, or a scan of the person’s entire face. This makes it almost impossible for hackers to bypass.

What is the benefit of 3-Factor Authentication?

The key benefit of 3FA and 2FA is that they vastly reduce the chances of fraud and identity theft as a result of data breaches and stolen passwords. While it is theoretically possible to breach 2FA systems if the fraudster has control of a person’s mobile phone – the addition of a biometric check means that remote fraud is not possible.

This allows companies to add a layer of confidence when authorizing access to customer accounts remotely.

What are the three factors that make up 3FA?

  • Something you know: This is a piece of information that a person knows – it could be a username, password, answer to a security question, or a touch gesture on a smart phone screen.
  • Something you have: This is a physical object that a person has in their possession. It could be a smart card, a device like a phone or USB drive, or most commonly a token device that provides a pin code to access an application or online service.
  • Something you are: This can include any unique physical facet of a person that can be used to verify their identity. It could be anything from a simple fingerprint to a facial scan or even DNA.

What is 4-Factor Authentication (4FA)?

4FA is simply a 3FA authentication solution with the addition of a check on a person’s physical location, based on geometric data or network location. This could be used to block transactions outside of a prescribed territory, or even outside of a company’s premises.

Apr 13th, 2022
2 min read

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