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Fri, Jun 18, 2021 7:12 AM

What is Multi-Factor Authentication?

What is Multi-Factor Authentication?

Commonly heard as Two-Factor Authentication, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) uses more than one method to verify the identity of a person who is trying to log in to a website.




MFA enabled in Trend Micro Account



Multi-Factor Authentication uses at least two details to identify you. It can be something you know (your password), something you are (your fingerprint), or something you have (your phone number).


Different Authentication Factors


To increase the security, MFA uses a combination of the following:


1. Knowledge - knowledge-based authentication (KBA) uses something that the user knows to verify his identity. Examples are a password, a PIN, or a username, or it can also be something like an answer to a secret question.

2. Possession - is something specific that a user has, such as a security token, a confirmation code/OTP, or a QR code.

3. Inherence - something the user is, which can be any biological traits that were confirmed for login. This category includes biometric authentications such as:

  • Fingerprint scans
  • Facial recognition
  • Voice recognition
  • Iris scan

4. Location-based - This information prevents access if the detected IP address or geo-location is different from what is specified on the allowed list.

5. Time - Current time. For example, a bank customer can't use their ATM card in America, and then in Russia 15 minutes later. These kinds of authentication techniques could prevent many cases of online bank fraud.



Here are some typical Multi-Factor scenarios we usually do:


  • Swiping a card and entering a PIN when using an ATM.
  • Logging into a website and being requested to enter an additional one-time password (OTP) sent to the requester's phone or email address.
  • Providing an email address, one-time password (OTP), then answering a security question when retrieving an account.
  • Downloading a VPN client with a valid digital certificate and logging into the VPN before being granted access to a network.



Why should we use MFA?

It improves our security

Cybersecurity attacks like phishing, keylogging, or pharming allow hackers to easily get a user's password, enabling them to perform more malicious actions under the user's account. Multi-Factor Authentication adds another level of protection to your account. Instead of the attacker just needing a single password to log in, they would also need to authenticate that they are really the owner of that account.



It enables our digital initiatives


With a rising number of companies and organizations moving into the remote workforce and trusting their resources to the cloud, Multi-Factor Authentication is very helpful for individuals moving into the digital era.

Business opportunities like online shopping are now trending. MFA makes sure that the consumer is the one making the transaction and not an attacker. This practice can guarantee seamless transactions and can build trust between the organization and its customers.


How to enable it?


Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication differs for every website, but the setting is usually under Account Security.


1.      Log in to your account, then navigate to Security settings.


2.      Look for Multi-Factor Authentication or two-step verification.


3.      Provide the required information.



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