As the world of technology continues to evolve, we need to continually stay on top of securing our personal information and access to accounts. The best practice of enabling two-factor (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) is nothing new, but it can often be thought of as an annoyance and, therefore, unused. If you’ve already enabled the feature on your online accounts that provide personal information (think financial accounts and email providers), that’s great! If not, we’d like to encourage you to do so.
MFA provides a valuable additional layer of security. It combines something you know (your password) with something you have (a one-time verification code or approval from your personal device) or something you are (fingerprint or face scan). The goal is to make it a little bit more difficult to hack into your accounts because you need multiple items to login. The method used is dependent upon the website where you are setting up your MFA. Often there is the option to have the code sent as a text message or to your email. When possible, though, opt to use MFA that provides a code or approval through an app on your phone (for example, Google Authenticator). (See how to implement multi-factor authentication on your logins with SWP below.)
Keep in mind, enabling MFA doesn’t mean your accounts will never be hacked. It is one way to add additional security, but it is just as important to maintain your cyber hygiene in other ways as well (such as creating unique and complex passwords, not clicking on unrecognized links, and not sharing personal information through unencrypted email – read our previous post on protecting your personal information for additional ways to keep you safe online).