MFA, Multi-Factor Authentication

A username and password are the most common requirements to access an account, but multi-factor authentication, or MFA, takes it a step further to protect your accounts against cybercriminals. 

As you know from our passphrase best practices, the security of your accounts is dependent on the strength of your password. Did you know that a password is just one type of authentication method?

An authentication method can be one of three things.

  1. Something you know, like a password or PIN
  2. Something you have, like a phone number, mobile device, or key fob
  3. Something you are, like biometric information (or your fingerprint)

What is multi-factor authentication, or MFA?

MFA provides an added layer of protection, beyond a username and password, to gain access to an account. With MFA, you can receive a Duo push notification, receive an authentication code or text message to your cell phone, or generate a 6-digit code from a third-party authenticator application. These are just some examples of what MFA might look like in everyday use. 

How does it work?

MFA makes your accounts more secure by making it harder for a bad actor to log in as if they were you. Your information is safer because a cybercriminal would need to steal both your password as well as your secondary authentication method, like your mobile device. Your mobiles should always be configured with a passcode or fingerprint lock, making it even more difficult for someone else to use to access your accounts and information.


When should I use MFA?

We recommend using MFA whenever possible, especially when it comes to your most sensitive data like your primary email, financial accounts, health records, and password manager. A sophisticated hacker can attempt thousands of password combinations in seconds, compromising even complicated passwords. But with MFA enabled, if a hacker gets your password they still won’t be able to access your account.

Learn more about National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Request Help