2FA explained: What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and How Does It Work?
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What are two-factor authentications (2FA)

05/01/2021 by admin with 0 comments

2FA explained: What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and How Does It Work?

What are two-factor authentication (2FA)

Being secured in every way must be our primary priority. That is why we are going to share some knowledge about how can you be secured with the help of two-step verification or dual-factor authentication. It is a process for being secured for which users have to provide twice the verification of themselves to verify. The process safeguards the user credentials and other resources the user can access. Having a two-factor verification keeps you secured always whereas using a single factor authentication in which the user has to provide only a single verification factor such as password or passcode. In the two-factor authentication, the user provides a password or passcode other than this they can also provide security tokens or biometrics factors such as fingerprints or facial scans.

The two-factor authentication helps the user to safeguards the authentication process to make it critically hard for the attacker to barge in with an attack. Although they might be knowing the password to the users’ account, they won’t succeed as the two-factor authentication also demands facial scans or biometrics for clearing the process and get into the account. This authentication process is used by the government and many other important entities for keeping their sensitive and confidential information safe. This online service is increasingly used by many users for safekeeping their credential, database, password, or passcode without getting stolen by the hacker with the help of phishing campaigns to obtain user passwords.

Authentication factors

There are several authentication factors that the user can adapt to. Currently, the most well-known and famous authentication method is two-factor authentication under them there are possession factors or inherence factors.

The other authentication factors user can adapt are as follows –

  • Knowledge factor

It is something a user knows, such as a password, a pin, or some other type of shared secret.

  • Possession factor

It is something a user has such as an ID card, security token, a device, or a smartphone app for authentication approval requests.

  • Inherence factor

It is a type of authentication that the user has in its hand and can unlock it whenever or wherever the user wants. There are other common authentication factors such as voice unlock or facial unlock. This also behavioural biometrics such as keystroke dynamics, gait, or speech patterns.

  • Time factor

It says that in a specific login time that you have been provided with by the page for logging in and restricts access to the system outside of that window.


The majority of the two-factor authentication methods lie on the first three factors that are knowledge factor, the possession factor, and the inherence factor. Some systems require greater security for implementing multifactor authentication which can rely on two or more independent credentials for stronger secure authentication.

Working of two-factor authentications

  • The user will have to login through a website or an application
  • The user will enter the information they have such as username and password. After typing the credential, the website will match the credential and accept the request of the user and log him in.
  • Some processes don’t require passwords, the website assists the user and provides them a security key. The authentication tool processes the key and the site verifies the key.
  • The website will prompt the user to provide the second authentication process and its steps can take a countless number of forms, Users have to prove that they have something unique such as ID card, security token, smartphone, or other devices. This is called the possession factor.
  • After the possession factor is approved then the user enters the one-time code that is generated in step four.
  • After providing all the necessary factors, the user is authenticated and gains access to the application or the website.

Types of two-factor authentication products

Different types of service imply two-factor authentications. They can differ from tokens to radio frequency identification cards to smartphone apps.

2FA is divided into two categories they are tokens that are given to the user that help the user logging in and infrastructure or that recognize and permit access to the user who is using their token correctly.

The token can be keys fobs or smart cards or they can also be some software or mobile or desktop apps that produce PIN codes for access. These access codes are known as one-time passwords they are well known as OTP in short. They are generated by a server that can read the authentic with the help of an authentication device or app. The OTP is a short sequence linked to a device, user, or account that can be used once as part of an authenticating process.

Two-factor authentication is secured?

The 2FA has features such as improves security. Access is not solely on the strength of the passwords, it’s safest than their weakest opponents. For instance, hardware token depends on the security of the issues or manufacturer. There happened a case relating to the 2FA system in 2011 when the security company RSA Security reported its SecurID authentication tokens has been hacked

It can beat the subverted part at the time of the account recovery process itself and defeat the 2FA because it often resets the current passwords and emails temporary passwords to allow the user to log in again by deflecting the 2FA process. The Gmail account of the chief business executive of Cloudflare was hacked in this way.

In 2FA, SMS-based is inexpensive and is easy to imply and consider user-friendly and it can be damaged as it is vulnerable to numerous attacks. The NIST (National Institute of Standard and Technology) has drowned the user motivation of using the SMS in 2FA service in its special publication 800-63-3: digital identity guidelines. NIST stated that OTP sent through SMS to mobile is also vulnerable due to mobile phone number portability attacks, like Signalling system 7 hack against the mobile phone network.

Future of authentication

Relying on passwords for opening a crucial account won’t be safe for the user nowadays as there are software and several attacks that can crack your codes and get access to personal stuff. The organization is thinking of making the authentication process password-less, technologies for preventing the user from several attacks with the help of improving the UX.

The password-less authentication hep the users authenticate themselves in their application securely, without having to enter passwords. In business, the worker can enter their working software without any password they just need to put their biometrics or go under a facial scan for entering their work and IT still maintains total control across every login.

This eliminates the need for account recovery, request to reset passwords, and a manual password rotation process.

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