Two-factor authentication (TFA) is an extra security layer for your account that prevents illegal hacking and compromising password credentials. It is essential to protect your accounts from cyber-attacks and only trusted people and devices you allow can get access.
It is used for safeguarding the computer systems, smartphones, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, etc., thus securing your digital identity. Two-factor authentication is available for both iOS and Android operating systems, as well as Windows 10 and macOS PCs. You can also install and access it on a tablet computer or iPod Touch device.
In a Two-factor notification, you will receive a text message notifying you about an unknown device login from a different location. Only if you allow access, the device will be able to login into your account. This prevents hackers who are trying to break into your accounts as well as promotes data privacy.
Why small businesses in Australia must implement Two-factor authentication?
Small businesses in Australia are more prone to cyber-threats and their systems can be easily compromised. A lack of awareness, financial constraints and staff not trained on cyber security, etc., are the key reasons, cyber thieves are on the hunt for gate-crashing computer systems of small enterprises that lack robust protection against malware and hackers. The basic anti-virus software and firewall protection are not enough, and systems require an additional layer of safety in the form of Two-factor notification.
It is essential to educate and train employees on activating and using Two-factor authentication, to prevent a possible threat and breach of data on an individual level. It will allow only trusted devices to access important data. The IT technical support team must guide the staff and must take an expert consultation from a Cyber Security Consultant. A course on cyber security will also help employees to understand the impact of cyber threats and thus enhance the business process by securing professional data. They will be able to identify and report Cybercrime by regularly monitoring their own systems. They will be able to spot risks and have a problem-solving approach
TFA mandatory for Australian businesses providing Telco Services
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has made it an obligation to all Australian businesses providing telco services to implement Two-factor authentication. This also includes virtual private networks of any size and public Wi-Fi. Telecommunications companies that fail to comply can be fined up to $250,000.
Steps to switch on Two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is a combination of something you know (password) and something you have (mobile, app, security key). Below are given the steps to switch on Two-factor authentication:
- Every device, email account and social media handle has Two-factor authentication in the settings option that needs to be switched on.
- You will have to share information like email id or WhatsApp or mobile number, which you will be using to receive security codes on unusual login detection.
- On saving changes, you get a notification on your respective email address or WhatsApp number about Two-Factor authentication being switched on. You will receive security codes that you need to save and not share with anyone.
- Whenever you log in from another device, you will be asked for a security code sent in an email or WhatsApp message depending on whichever you have shared to receive a notification.
- In case of suspicious login, you will be able to restrict or block access to prevent any security breach.
Methods to receive security codes
It is the least secure method for receiving security codes. A cybercriminal can get your sim from your service provider and hack all information and security codes.
It is a secure option that provided you with active two-step verification for your WhatsApp account.
Biometrics is a much more secure option, as it will have your fingerprint or face recognition using image scanning that cannot be copied.
It is the safest form of receiving security codes after activating Two-factor authentication. An authenticator app will share a one-time password, which you will use to detect if it’s you trying to login into the account or website from another account or device. They do not require mobile signals and won’t be a victim of Sim-swapping. In the case of websites, you will get a security code in the form of a QR code. App store has authenticator apps like Google Authenticator, LastPass authenticator, Okta Verify, etc.,
A Hardware key is the most secure form of achieving Two-factor authentication. It’s an external hardware key that needs to be plugged into your device to access it. In case your phone has NFC support, you can tap the key against your phone and push a button on the key. On losing the key, no hacker would be able to use it as there is nothing embedded in it.
Other benefits of Two-factor authentication
- Secures personal data from phishing.
- Protects your bank account login and prevents financial scams.
- The infrastructure required to set up is affordable.
- It also protects online accounting software like MYOB and will provide you hassle-free updates on customer payments, employee payrolls, tax and GST, etc.
Drawbacks of Two-factor authentication
Can be hacked
The biggest drawback is that cybercriminals have figured out ways to hack Two-Factor authentication, especially the ones with an SMS message notification. It is easy for them to share phishing messages that might seem legitimate and encourage you to click on them. Once you have clicked on the link shared, the cyber thieves will get access and can change your password and switch off Two-factor authentication.
Authenticator apps and Hardware keys have time-consuming installations
Though Authenticator apps and Hardware keys are the most secure methods for Two-factor authentication, their installation is time-consuming.
Why does your business require Two-factor Authentication?
To safeguard company data, as well as personal data, and devices of employees against possible cyber threats.
What all can be protected using a Two-factor authentication?
With Two-factor authentication, you can protect emails, Microsoft Outlook accounts, Microsoft OneDrive, File Server, SharePoint, iCloud storage and computer data storage. Web browsers like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge are also secured by it.