What is Multifactor Authentication and How does it Work?

What is Multifactor Authentication?

What is multifactor authentication and why is it used for? Multifactor Authentication is also known as MFA.

For instance, when you sign-in to any of your online accounts, you have to go through the process called “authentication”. This means that you are providing your identity to the service and saying who are you?

Historically, a username and password have been used for it. Regretfully, that is not a very effective method.

Reason being that most of the time usernames are simple to find. Sometimes your username is merely your email address. People frequently choose basic passwords or use the same one across numerous websites because they can be difficult to remember.

Therefore almost all online businesses, including social networks, banks, retail, and yes, Microsoft 365 as well, have included a feature that makes your accounts safer because of this.

[Read: Difference between Authentication and Authorization]

Suppose you are going to sign in with your username and password to access your work or school account. It all takes for someone to sign in as you are from anywhere in the globe and can log in as long as they know your username and password!

You simply need more information than your username and password the first time you log into an account on a new device or app (such as a web browser). To show your identity, you need another object, or what we refer to as a second “factor”.

How Does the Multi-factor Authentication Process Work?

A means of verifying your identity when attempting to log in is known as a factor in authentication. One type of factor is something you know, like a password.

The three most typical categories of variables are:

  • Anything you are familiar with, such as a PIN or password that you have committed to memorize
  • Something that you own, such as a safe USB key or smartphone.
  • Something that defines you, such as a fingerprint or facial recognition system.

However, things become more fascinating if you have enabled multifactor authentication.

When you sign in for the first time on a device or app, you input your password and username as usual. After that, you’re asked to provide a second factor to confirm your identity.

Your second factor may be the free Microsoft Authenticator app or a text code.

Note: In addition to protecting your Microsoft work and school accounts, Microsoft Authenticator may also be used to safeguard your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, and numerous other websites. On Android or iOS, it is free.

If the Microsoft Authenticator app is set to primary, you will be prompted on your smartphone to allow it.

However, if someone else tries to log in using your login and password, they’ll be trapped when they’re asked for a second factor! Unless they own YOUR mobile device or smartphone.

multifactor authentication

In conclusion, one of the most popular ways for hackers to access your data, identity, or finances is through compromised passwords. One of the simplest ways to make it much more difficult for them is to use Multifactor Authentication.

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