As we move further into the digital age, securing our identities and accounts online becomes a higher priority. Strong authentication is a key in protecting yourself against hacking and stolen personal information. It cannot protect completely from hackers, but it does add another line of defense. Think of it as having an alarm on your car. It isn’t going to prevent you from your car getting stolen, but it does discourage would-be robbers when it goes off, thus lessening the chances you will be a victim.
What is Strong Authentication?
Strong authentication is when it takes more than one route to confirm your identity online. Authentication is when a single piece of data or information is needed to authorize the use of an account – like providing a password with your username. A strong authentication is when there is a requirement to provide another route of information to use an account.
There are a variety of ways that an organization can seek stronger two-factor authentication. In some places, it involves having a username, password, and a biometric identification like a fingerprint. Another route could be in addition to providing a password you must also prove that you have a physical object to identify, such as a mobile phone or a credit card. Many websites have switched over to a two-factor authentication system, like twitter which requires a username, password and mobile phone to be accessed.
Some companies have put in place even more stringent authentication processes using multi-factors. Often these utilize a series of factors that build upon each other. You may input your username, password and then answer a security question. Then that security question when properly answered will lead you to another question or will allow a one-time code to be sent to a mobile phone or email to allow access. It is important to note though, that the more factors in authentication less user-friendly an access point becomes.
Can Strong Authentication Offer Total Protection from Identity Theft?
In short no. As technology for authentication increases so does the technology to break those codes. In the ongoing fight between security and hackers it is a constant arms race. Some of the biggest security firms have suffered from cyber-attacks in recent years. Additional ways that the two or multi factor authentication is through options like account recovery.
Account recovery is put in place so if the correct user misplaces his information he has alternative methods to gaining control of his account. Since that option bypasses the authentication feature, it is a break point in the fence to keep hackers out. Other methods used can be by using malware to gain the data needed or even large scale hacking into security firms themselves to steal many individuals’ authentication data at once.
Although there are weak points in any form of authentication it is still an important feature to have. It can offer a measure of security and it a necessary tool to help protect yourself and your identity online. The best offense as a good defense and strong authentication should be on the front-line of any solid defense.