In the wake of the coronavirus and the national lockdown, your life has probably become more digital than ever before. Your smartphone is now the hub of your social life, your banking services, your shopping and so much more besides.
Along with the convenience and power this puts at your fingertips, it also exposes you to new risks. The Internet is full of cyber-criminals who work tirelessly to get their hands-on people’s personal data for purposes such as identity theft or cyber-fraud.
One of the best and simplest ways to reduce your risk levels is by enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) for the apps and services you use every day on your smartphone. Alcatel takes you through the how and why of MFA.
What is MFA?
MFA is about adding extra layers of protection to your accounts, in addition to the password and login. With MFA, you will usually use something you know (a password) and something you have (a smartphone or hardware token, for example) to access services as social media or banking.
Most services and apps these days support multiple MFA solutions:
- You could get a one-time password or PIN emailed or texted to you when you want to make a major change to an account, sign in from a new device, or access sensitive information.
- You could use a mobile app like Google Authenticator or a hardware token to generate a code when you need to access a service.
Why does it matter?
Passwords can be compromised easier than you might think
With all the cyber-criminals out there today, a password is no longer enough. Even if you are diligent and aware of the threats of malware and phishing, you could slip up and allow a criminal to steal your password. Plus, it’s not unusual for cyber-criminals to breach even large companies’ systems and steal passwords and other personal information.
According to one study, there are 15 billion stolen credentials from 100,000 data breaches circulating the dark web. If you use MFA, a hacker will not be able to transact or access your sensitive data, even if they have your password.
A single password can give a cyber-criminal access to lots of your critical data
It’s really convenient that you can use your Google password to sign into productivity apps, email, YouTube and numerous other services, or that you can use Facebook to authenticate yourself to other services and websites. But it also means that a single compromised password can give a criminal access to a large chunk of your digital life.
Just imagine a cyber-criminal using your YouTube login to gain access to your email, which may have banking, health, identity and other sensitive data. Simple password protection is not enough to protect you when the risk is so great. MFA is a small price to pay to enjoy the convenience of safely using today’s integrated apps and services.
It’s simple and convenient to use
MFA is simple and seamless. It takes no more than a few seconds to use a one-time PIN received on your smartphone or a random code from your authenticator app to sign in or confirm a transaction.
By some estimates, MFA will protect you from 99.9% of account hacks – which easily justifies the time it will take you to set it up and use it.