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What is 2-Factor authentication?


2-factor authentication is a second layer of security used by users who own an online account on some platforms that require login credentials. Here, an additional layer of security is used to prevent hackers from gaining un-authorized access to users’ accounts. The 2FA methods to be discussed below are SMS 2FA, authenticator app 2FA, Biometric 2FA, and Push-based 2FA.

2-FA Authentication Authorization


SMS 2FA is a kind of second layer security a user can use to secure an online account. Here, the users can use a mobile number to activate the SMS authenticator just after the normal login. The platform would ask for the SMS code sent to the user’s registered mobile number in order to bypass the second layer of security on the platform. If the user is unable to provide the SMS code, access to the account would be denied.

It is advised for users in an organization to use a company corporate line when setting up SMS 2FA. Users may lose track of their mobile number and this could lead to a compromise on security. So, most times, it is advisable not to use your active mobile number to set up an SMS authenticator. It is a phone-based 2FA.

Authenticator Application

These are applications that generate unique codes which could be included as second layer to a security system of an online account. The Google authenticator and Free OTP authenticator are two well-known applications that can be used for this purpose. The authentication security applications are time based in nature and generate unique keys for the user to input on the security space.

Upon set-up of an online account that accepts application authentication, the application has a unique QR code which the user exports to the authentication application. The authentication now sets up an account for the registered QR code, which generates a unique six-digit number within a set time. This QR code is advised to be backed up by the user, as it would be needed in instances where the user tends to change the current mobile device. This type of authentication is an improved SMS 2FA authenticator.

Biometric 2FA

Biometric 2FA is a second layer of security possible on online accounts.

It’s either done with a retina scan of the eye or the user’s fingerprint. This kind of 2FA is popular, as it is readily available on most mobile phones lately and is being integrated by most online platforms. Fingerprint 2FA is not a solid kind of 2FA, as there could be an easy compromise on the security system of the biometric.

Push-Based 2FA

This is a kind of second-layer security method that could require two devices. Here, the user’s attempt to log in would prompt a push on the second device. The second device shows the location of the login attempt and demands the user pushes a button in the other device in order for the login to be authorized. This 2FA method is an improved version of the Google authenticator application, as the user here gains valuable information about the login action, and also acknowledges it by the push authorization. Sometimes Gmail can request a push prompt on another device from a user trying to gain access to a Google account through another device.


2-Factor authentication methods are very important for modern-day security demands. But a combination of the various methods on a single device would be better than the use of just one of the 2FA methods on a device.


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