With technology expanding exponentially, more of what we do daily is connected to the Internet. As convenience increases, so does the need to protect oneself digitally from unauthorized access to online accounts and devices. Prevention from becoming a victim of identity theft is essential in the digital age.
What is multi-factor authentication?
One of the primary ways to protect yourself is multi-factor or ‘two-step’ authentication. This is a second layer of digital security, allowing businesses and online applications to verify your identity. This helps by creating another barrier that hackers and thieves must overcome, as your password alone is no longer enough to deter them. In many cases, state and federal agencies are now requiring companies to implement this extra step.
There are three basic types of multi-factor authentication:
- Something only you can verify, like a pin code or password
- Something you have in your possession, like your mobile phone or
- Something unique to you, like your voice or fingerprint
When using multi-factor or ‘two-step’ authentication, systems are selecting two of the three, instead of relying on a single form. Like at home, turning all locks gives you peace-of-mind. This extra layer too, can make the difference between prevention and a costly intrusion.
Why you should use it
When working with financial details or sensitive information, we recommend enabling multi-factor authentication whenever possible, protecting your identity and privacy. With successful breaches increasing 27.5 percent in one year alone, stolen user credentials, often-weak passwords, were used in 95 percent of all unauthorized penetrations. Although it may take you a few extra minutes setting-up, we believe this is worth your time to help you prevent future vulnerability.
Platforms to authenticate
From Google to Facebook to LinkedIn and countless others, many sites are incorporating two-step authentication to protect their clients. For quick reference, here are instructions to enable multi-factor authentication on some of the top platforms. As you begin to enable this feature, it’s important to keep several things in mind:
- You can receive your codes via text to your phone. This is convenient for most users, however, this is less secure than using an application. In addition, you must have your phone nearby to retrieve them.
- There are multiple authentication apps that work with a variety of providers such as Authy, Google Authenticator, and Last Pass Authenticator. While these do take a little extra time setting up, they work when there is no cell service and are considered more secure.
- Since we often lose our devices, many service providers give you the ability to download or print codes you can use should you not have cell signal. It may be a good idea to keep some of these in a safe place.
With thieves and hackers leveraging technology, it’s more important than ever to take all precautions on and offline when protecting your assets, your family and your name.
We encourage all Republic Wealth Advisors clients to utilize multi-factor authentication on their client portal. If this is not currently turned on for you, please contact us and we’ll be happy to enable the feature.
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