Two Factor Authentication: a Step to Greater eCommerce Security
IntroductionSecurity measures are getting more exquisite every day, and so do malicious schemes. We protect our accounts and data with passwords. But passwords are just a bunch of symbols that one can forget or accidentally give away to someone who will try to take advantage of it. Knowing two pieces of information is enough for identity fraud. Of course, if it is your profile on a social network that was compromised, you can report it and get it back after proving your identity. But you can’t get back money snatched from your bank account, and you can’t get back robbed customers who trusted you with their payment details. To prevent it, you need to prove your identity before getting access to data of any kind.
What is 2FA?There’s no reason to be confused, we all met 2FA before. It existed long before it was introduced to online users in 2012. Every time you put your credit card into ATM and have to enter a pin code to use get access to your money, you are undergoing the procedure of two-factor authentication. Two Factor Authentication, also known as 2FA, is a type of multi-factor authentication, that requires one more step for login after entering the password. This next step is “a second password”, a piece of information available in this very moment only to the person who is trying to log in. It can be anything: from a data storage device to phone calls. There are three types of tokens used now:
- Knowledge. It is something only this specific person can know. PIN, answer to the secret question, a zip code. This is the easiest 2FA option.
- Physical objects. Something only this specific person can have with them: a mobile phone, a credit card, a smartwatch, and any device that can perceive messages and calls. It is the most popular way of 2FA: after entering login and password, you get an SMS or email with a randomly generated code, which can be used only once for a limited period of time.
- Biometric data. A fingerprint, a retina, or a voice. It is the most complex type of 2FA to implement and the most secure one. Hackers can find out your password or break into the system, but they can’t steal your metrics.
2FA Protection: Hackproof, Not FoolproofThe strongest point of a 2FA is that a “second password” is almost impossible to predict. However, 2FA is not a guaranteed cure for identity theft. There are downside — it would be weird if there weren’t. Here is what you need to know before launching 2FA. There is there’s no human factor prevention — your physical token, such as your phone or card, can be stolen. And even if 2FA is biometric, intruders can perform an account recovery scenario via email. The recommendations are to simply educate your customers and explore different two-factor options at the same time.
Why do You Need 2FA in Your Business?
- Extra security level. 2FA adds up one security layer to your admin panel. Admin accounts are tempting targets to intruders, and leaked credentials can lead to both financial and image damage.
- 2FA is mobile-friendly. No matter how well-made your web application is, your customers tend to go mobile. They shop sitting on the train or in a cafe. These are the same places where the mobile phones go missing, forgotten, and stolen, with credit card details already filled in on their accounts. While people always have their phones with them, getting an SMS, an email or a voicemail with a security code is a matter of a few seconds.
- Boosted trust. Consumers trust you more if you have 2FA, and they will prefer an online store that provides it. Having a device you always have you attached to your account makes you feel safe because you can always reset the password and be notified about any malicious actions from your account.
- 2FA is easy to use. Users don’t need to do anything extra, the information that helps them log in is available immediately, you don’t need to spend time looking for notes or trying to remember it. 2FA is a cost-effective solution based on what the user already has.