In today’s online environment, the fundamental “username and password” security approach is extremely easy prey for cybercriminals. They have the capabilities to access logins in a matter of minutes. The statistics speak for themselves. In 2017, 978 million people across 20 countries became victims of cybercrime. This astonishing figure was the reason behind the need for the development and implementation of safer security solutions. Also known as two-step authentication.
Whether you run a small business, a large business, or only spend time online for personal use, adding another layer to your security and practicing cyber safety is more important than ever. It is, in fact, becoming a necessity of modern life.
So, what’s this second layer to your security and how do you implement it?
We spoke to David Officen, Accountant, Business Improvement Specialist and Virtual CFO at proCFO to find out.
What is Two-step Authentication?
Two-step authentication (2SA) is also known as two-factor or two-step verification and multifactor authentication. And it is widely used to add a layer of security to your online accounts. It provides a way of ‘double-checking’ that you’re really the person you’re claiming to be when you log into your online accounts, online banking, email and social media.
One of the most common mediums where this is now widely used is in online accounting software such as Xero or MYOB. In fact, in 2018, the Australian Tax Office updated its online security requirements for customers of software providers that connect with the ATO. As a result, it’s now compulsory for anyone with access to an Australian organisation on Xero to have 2SA enabled on their login. Because let’s face it, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
How does Two-step Authentication work?
When you log in to an online account with a username and password, you only need one thing to verify that you are who you say you are. This is what we call single-factor authentication. With 2SA, you need to provide two things. Your password and something else such as a code sent to your mobile device. Or your fingerprint or facial recognition before you can access your account.
And how do you set up Two-step Authentication?
Some online services such as accounting software will automatically prompt you for a second factor when you log in. Making it easy to remember to do. However, many don’t, so you’ll need to activate it yourself. You will find the option to switch on 2SA in the security or privacy settings of your online accounts.
The TURN IT ON website provides an explanation of 2SA and how it protects online accounts from compromise. As well as a directory of step-by-step tutorials demonstrating how to enable the security feature for hundreds of top websites.
Google Authentication is a great app used to generate your verification code for various websites and apps right from your phone. Making cyber safety simpler.
There are three types of authentication:
- A thing you know: such as a password, PIN, zip code or answer to a question (mother’s maiden name, name of a pet, the first street you lived on etc)
- Something you have: for example, a phone, credit card or key fob for verification
- An attribute: a fingerprint, face or voice recognition
In today’s online environment, adding a second layer to your cybersecurity really is crucial. Start making your online world safer by implementing two-step authentication today.
Need a little help setting this up or want to find out more about our bookkeeping or business growth services? Contact proCFO today.