Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), also known as Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), is a security method used to strengthen access to a system, application, or account by requiring multiple authentication steps. Rather than relying solely on a single password, MFA requires users to provide at least two different forms of authentication before gaining access. This greatly increases security and makes it more difficult for unauthorized persons to gain access, even if they know the password.

The factors used in MFA can vary, but they are usually classified into three categories:

1. Something you know: This includes something only the user knows, such as a password, PIN, or answer to a security question.
2. Something you have: This includes something the user physically owns, such as a smartphone, a hardware token, a smart card, or a specific device code.
3. Something that you are: This refers to a unique characteristic of the user itself, such as fingerprints, facial recognition or other biometric data.

For example, a typical MFA implementation might require a user to enter their password (something they know) and then enter a unique verification code sent to their smartphone (something they have). This combined authentication makes it much more difficult for an attacker to gain unauthorized access, even if the password is compromised.

MFA is widely regarded as an effective method of strengthening account and system security and is widely used for online services, business applications and personal accounts to reduce the likelihood of unauthorized access and data breaches.

Updated on 07 Aug, 2023