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#Backtobasics: Two-Factor Authentication

12 February 2015 by Jenn Granger

They say two heads are better than one, well the same goes for layers of online protection – in this case, two factors are better than one. With all the security drama over the last year, it’s unsurprising that many want an extra layer of security; and two-factor authentication may be a grand way of securing your bizniss.


Two-factor authentication (2FA) offers an extra level of security when logging into an account by asking you to provide another method of identification. It’s usually a combination of two or more of the following: something you have (e.g. a bank card, a mobile phone), something you know (a password or PIN etc.), and something that is inseparable from you (e.g. a fingerprint); and seeing as ABI research predicts that the global multi-factor authentication software and service market will be worth over £1bn by the end of the year, it’s looking like a pretty popular choice right now.

The tech combines a static password with a one-time-use access code (for instance, you might get sent a text each time you log in with a different code to input), and one common example is when you withdraw money from an ATM: you need to use your bank card and your PIN together to make a withdrawal. This means that even if someone has one of those things, without the other they’d still be unable to withdraw any of your money.

Many big companies now have 2FA, with Red Hat and Microsoft both planning on having multi-factor authentication built into their next platforms, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 and Windows 10, which are set to be released this summer.

Obviously there are still drawbacks though. For example, the validation comes from something that would need to be on you at all times – a phone, key or USB stick usually; and if you’re using your phone, and it runs out of battery or has no signal you’re in trouble. Gmail, for example, also has IP lockdown, so every time you log in from a new location (i.e. a new IP address), it will send you a text – but no signal means no text, which means you’re kinda stuck. On balance though, if you’re using 2FA you’re probably still improving your security.

UKFast customers can now enable two factor authentication on their MyUKFast contact access screen. This means that every time you log in, you’ll receive an SMS message that contains a verification code – enter this code into the login page and bingo, access will be granted as normal!

Whilst 2FA does take more time, your security is worth it; and with companies like PC World touting headlines like “Data breaches can be prevented with one simple solution” (they mean two-factor, rather than deleting all your data and burning your computer, which is the slightly more sociopathic alternative), it’s definitely worth your consideration.

For more information on our security solutions take a look at our website or give us a call on 0208 045 4945.