Welcome to #WeekendWisdom number 17. This week we’re going to talk about multi-factor authentication.

Before we get into multi-factor, let’s talk about single-factor. What is that?

What is Single-Factor Authentication

When you go to sign into some application or your email or LinkedIn, you type in your user ID and password and you get in. That is a single factor authentication. Your password is the one and only factor that’s used. So if the bad guys get your password by some nefarious means, by looking over your shoulder or compromising your password in some other way, once they have that, they are able to sign in as you.

What is Multi-Factor Authentication

But with multi-factor, you’re adding a second or another factor to authenticate you and prevent the bad guys from getting in. So we’ll cover off three types:

1 – SMS Text Message

The first type is using an SMS text message. So in this situation, you type in your user ID and password and you’ll get the service or application that you’re signing into to send you a text message with a six-digit code that you enter on the website to get in and that’s your second factor or multi-factor.

2 – Code Generator

The second type is using a code generator app on your phone or through a little hardware key that generates a 6 digit code for you and the same thing, user ID, password and then you get the code from your app to sign in.

3 – Security Key

And third, the most secure of all is using a security key. So these are little dongles that you plug into your laptop or into your phone. And when you get to have to authenticate to a service or application, you press the button on the security key and that authenticates you and then you’re in. So that’s multi-factor authentication.

So that’s it for this week. Let’s be careful out there and we’ll talk to you again next week.

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