In a step to better protect users and reduce fears related to online privacy, two-factor authentication (2FA) has now been employed by seven of the ten largest social networking sites (including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) as their authentication measure of choice.
Public pressure has been a driving force for the trend, with hundreds of forum posts being posted to the most conspicuous absentee – Instagram’s – user boards and even the hashtag #SupportTwoFactorAuth being set up by consumer groups to help convince the social media behemoth to implement the technology.
“Using 2FA can help lower the number of cases of identity theft on the Internet, as well as phishing via email, because the criminal would need more than just the user’s name and password details, and often something the user themselves doesn’t know if your extra authentication layer should be a one-time passcode,” explains Steve Watts, co-founder of SecurEnvoy.
The use of the technology has become widespread in the consumer realm, with consumers well versed in how to use 2FA and the importance of it to keep their private data safe from prying eyes. For a decade or more we have been used to being issued with a card reader (in essence a hardware token device) to use with our bank card and Personal Identification Number (PIN) when looking to complete our internet banking transactions.
“2FA has become as ubiquitous as taking a selfie is for the modern masses, the information security technology being seen by many as the holy grail of authentication is literally already at the users’ fingertips,” adds Watts.