Two-factor authentication explained

I told you all about a survey that said only 10% of those surveyed understood the term two-factor authentication. I asked if you were familiar with the term. Many of you, like this reader, were not:

“Don’t have a clue what those words are or mean. Never heard them before. Just FYI Cyn I still use a Roladex, that’s how high tech I am. But I am learning some things from you so appreciate your efforts and information.”


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.

My suggestion to you is that if an account offers that option, you need to set it up.

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