By Joey Green

In the beginning, Al Gore created the Internet and the Web. Now the Web was formless and empty – potential was on the face of corporate America. And the Spirit of Al Gore was hovering over the face of capitalism…

Well, that’s not exactly how it happened, but the 1991 release of CERN’s World Wide Web to the public domain did drop technological progress of almost Biblical proportions on world civilization. The Web was wide open and available to anyone who had a computer, a phone line, and a dialup modem.

As an information sharing medium, restrictions were practically non-existent. Security and online privacy were things that nobody gave a second thought to, but it didn’t take long to realize the implications. Despite the advancement of Internet technology, data breaches seemingly every other day show that our personal information is at a higher risk than ever before. Many of us have multiple passwords spread across various websites, either for a free trial of some kind or for E-mail access. Avoiding data breaches when your information is stored on someone else’s computer is a challenge.

Enter two-factor authentication, often called 2FA, is one of the best and most effective ways to keep your online accounts safe. The White House even had a “#TurnOn2FA” campaign; but what is 2FA exactly?

There are three generally recognized factors to authenticate one’s identity: a password, a phone or hardware token, and a fingerprint or face ID. 2FA means that two of these options will be used to authenticate that identity instead of just one. Thanks to recent innovations like Apple’s FaceID, biometric scanners are quickly becoming one of these options. In most cases, the second authentication is nothing more than a one-time numeric code sent to one’s smartphone that is then manually keyed into a separate interface. Any malicious login attempt is thwarted since the would-be hacker requires the authentication code sent to you to fully log in. In addition, the code that is sent to the actual user’s smartphone acts as an indicator that their password has been compromised, permitting the user to change their password to avoid future problems.

2FA is an excellent technological innovation that many have not heard of. The service is typically free of added costs, and users are encouraged to take advantage of 2FA with any online accounts that offer such services.