Two-factor authentication? What’s that?

According to a study by Pew Research, seventy-two percent of American adults polled don’t know about one of the most important ways to protect your accounts.

Only twenty-eight percent of those surveyed could correctly identify an example of two-factor authentication. I’m certain that none of the people surveyed were my readers. Right? Because I’m continually pounding the drum for two-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication (sometimes known as multi-factor authentication) is an important term that everyone should understand. In fact, it is the best way to keep your accounts secure. Think about two-factor authentication as if it were a deadbolt lock on your door. Instead of one lock that requires a key, you have two locks. One on the doorknob and one that requires a second key.


Two-factor authentication just means that there are two steps to log into your account. It might be that you enter a password and are then asked to answer a security question.  You might enter a password and then have a code sent to you via text or email. You then have to enter that code to get into your account.


Much like a deadbolt, it can discourage a crook. If you have two-step security activated on your bank account and a criminal tries to hack in, even if he has your password, he won’t be able to get in unless he has access to your email or phone.


3 thoughts on “Two-factor authentication? What’s that?

  1. The most common example of the two step authentication is Email accounts. Yahoo likes to do that as a type of security check up. It first started by the need of another email account where that magical code could be found, copied from the other email account and entered where you are signing in. I don’t remember it including cell phone in the beginning . That is newer. I have asked this question before; Is a person locked out forever if you don’t have a cell phone. (don’t want one) ? They don’t make it sound like there is any choice in yahoo. Except to tell them later. My email settings have that option to mark that choice accordingly. I have that authentication for both email accounts marked no, just to use the other email. So I guess a person has to get a cell phone eventually? We have Ooma internet phone service. And it’s great!

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