2FA Through SMS: The Basics, Benefits and How It Keeps Us Secure

Security, more than ever has been more critical in today’s modern and digital world raising concerns for many people, organizations and businesses. To address these security threats, the world has come up with ways to tackle the issue and one way of maintaining the security standards is via 2 factor authentication. Activating 2 factor authentication has become a major security deal to secure our online services and other critical transactions such as access to accounts, password change/reset, online payments, money transactions and more.

What is 2 Factor Authentication?

2FA, also known as two-step verification is an additional means of security by which users combine two different components of identification.

This security solution confirms the identity of the user and protects the system from phishing or hacking attacks. So when you activate 2FA, a hacker requires more than your password to access the account and also you get notified that someone else is trying to access your account.

In 2FA, users are required to provide an additional piece of information to verify their identity. In general, 2FA uses two of the three possible methods of verifying an identity:

  1. Something you know (account username and password or PIN)
  2. Something you have (security token or code generated from phone or email)
  3. Something you are (biometric verification like fingerprint or iris scan)

2FA implementation with something you have like with a mobile phone is the most common method and there are many forms to implement this including via SMS.

2FA Through SMS

This is probably the most widely used method to implement 2FA as it is easy  and super convenient for the user. Nowadays, everyone has a mobile phone and they always have it on them hence speeding up the verification process.

As stated earlier, 2FA requires two pieces of information to access and account; something you know and something you have. After successfully entering a username and password, a secret one-time pass code (OTP) is sent the user’s mobile phone as an SMS message to verify if they are the authorized person. The user then enters the pass code gains access to the system or application or account.

The one-time pass code, OTP, is a valid code for a single login session on a computer or digital device. SMS generated one-time passwords provide an extra level of security so even if someone has your username and password, they still won’t be able access your account unless they also have access to your SMS messages. OTPs are therefore much more secure than using user-nominated passwords; they are unique to every single user and every single session and expire after only  a short period of time.

 Benefits of SMS 2FA

2FA ensures that even if one of the factors (username and password) have been compromised the other factor (one-time password) keeps hackers from breaking into your account hence minimizing the risk of data theft. Other benefits of using 2FA include;

  1. Easy to implement and user-friendly
  2. Provides additional layer of security
  3. Minimizes risk of data and identity theft
  4. Reduces operational and security cost
  5. 2FA done through SMS ensures every user can benefit this security feature even with a feature phone regardless of mobile data

2FA is not a new a new concept, it is a great thing to have and more services are making it a standard feature to enhance security. In this ever dynamic and digital world, as security keeps constantly evolving and adapting, 2FA has remained a critical part of the security process. SMS 2FA has remained the superior method in the modern world; it suits a vast majority of users and is easy to facilitate.

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