What Is Two Factor Authentication?

I wrote recently about Gmail account security and forgot to mention two factor authentication so here is the follow-up post I should have added at the time:

There have been many different ways tried when it comes to security. The biggest problem when it comes to security and the internet is that the internet was built without security in mind. When the people who created the internet were working on it, they had no idea that the system would be spread worldwide to hundreds of countries around the world. They just thought that a small group of academics and government officials would be the only ones working on it. But now that it is worldwide, security has become the number one concern. So far, all of the security solutions have been hacks that have been tacked on like an afterthought. And until a new system is built that is probably how it is going to be for a long time. But not all of the hacks are of similar strength. Recently there has been a new security method called two factor authentication that has been making the rounds.

What Is Two Factor Authentication?

What is two factor authentication?

Two factor authentication is a pretty simple concept. What it does is basically allow you to have two ways to authenticate yourself on a web site that you visit. So for example, instead of having just a username and password when you go to an important web site like your bank, you would instead have your username, password, and a special USB card that will only talk to the bank.

There are many different forms of two factor authentication that you can use. It can be something as simple as having two different sets of passwords to something physical such as the USB card that I talked about earlier. The whole key is that it is a lot harder for bad guys to be able to steal your identity when they have to go through two different forms of authentication. High security places such as the government have been doing this for years. For example when you have to place your hand on a scanner and say your name to get into highly classified areas.

Will two factor authentication work on the net? We will soon see. But so far it seems to be a good idea.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. […] of the ways you should look at making your website better is two factor authentications. If you have anything of importance on your site then this is definitely an idea that you should […]

  2. […] used more and more. This is especially true when you see web sites use a technology that is called two factor authentication. This technology works by allowing you to log into a web site only after you have placed your […]

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