Passwords are the keys to the kingdom for cyber criminals because often they’re the only thing standing between them and a big payday. They can also be easy to breach due to poor password security.

Despite knowing better, many people end up adopting bad password habits that put their personal data and that of the company they work for at risk of a breach. Some of these bad habits include:

  • Using the same password for multiple different logins
  • Using easy to guess passwords
  • Not using enough characters (7-10 is recommended)
  • Not using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters
  • Not utilizing two-factor authentication (2FA) with their logins

81% of hacking-related data breaches were due to stolen or weak passwords. (CSO)

Neuron Computers is proud to be a preferred IT provider for many organizations and one thing we do when providing fully managed IT services is to do a complete review of a client’s cybersecurity policies. We often help them implement 2FA to protect their sensitive and financial information.

There is some confusion out there about 2FA, how it helps, and how to set it up in common apps or services. We’re here to clear up that confusion and show you just how easy it is to put in place and why it’s an important part of any solid data security strategy.

What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?

Two-factor authentication, also known as multi-factor authentication or two-step verification, refers to the practice of using another required parameter when logging in to a particular application or website.

For example, if you have 2FA set up with your bank for online banking access, you might receive a small device from them that will display a 4 to 6-digit code when you try to login or you may be asked to provide your mobile number and receive a text with the code (receiving a text to your mobile number is the most common method).

Before you can gain access to your account, you have to enter that code. And it’s time sensitive, so you may only have 5 minutes to enter it, and after that you would have to request a new code.

This a strong protection against stolen or hacked passwords, because 2FA adds another layer of security that is connected to something the user should have on their person, and a hacker wouldn’t have access to. Such as your cell phone or a small electronic device issued by a bank or other entity.

With two-factor authentication, even if that bank password was stolen, the hacker wouldn’t make it past the 2FA because they’d need that additional code. So your account would be safe from a breach.

Why Isn’t Everyone Using 2FA?

While 2FA is becoming more commonplace, unfortunately many users still aren’t using this commonsense protocol.

When our Neuron Computers Security Team is conducting a free 21-Point Cyber Security Assessment, we often find one of the weak spots in a company’s data security is poor password management and not using 2FA.

Some of the reasons that keep people from adopting this important safeguard are:

  • They aren’t sure how to set it up
  • They don’t want to take the extra few seconds to access an application
  • They don’t want to give their mobile number out

The fact is that 2FA significantly reduces the chance of a data breach so those few extra seconds to login are worth it for the security benefit.

According to Symantec, 80% of data breaches could be eliminated by adopting Two-factor Authentication.

How to Set Up 2FA on Common Applications

Here’s a simple ‘How To’ about setting up 2FA on some popular programs and websites. It may be easier than you think!

PayPal: Login and go to Account. Select My User. Under Two-Factor Authentication, click Enable. You’ll receive a code to your mobile device to enter to complete the process.

Office 365: The Admin first needs to enable 2FA for your organization. Users will then see a prompt at their next login with instructions to set up 2FA for their user account. 

Apple: For a mobile device, go to Settings. Tap Password & Security. Tap Turn On Two-Factor Authentication.

For a Mac, go to the Apple menu (apple icon) and System Preferences. Click iCloud, then Account Details. Click the Security tab, click Turn On Two-Factor Authentication.

Dropbox: Sign in, click your avatar. Choose Settings, select the Security tab. Toggle Two-step verification to On. Click Get Started.

Evernote: Login to your account settings in Evernote Web. Select Security Summary. Click Enable next to Two-Step Verification.

Google: Login to your account, navigate to Security. On the “Signing in to Google” panel, click 2-step Verification, click Get Started.

Salesforce: The Admin must first enable two-factor authentication for the organization. When users next login they will then see a prompt to set up their 2FA.

Need Help Setting up 2FA for Your Organization?

The benefits of two-factor authentication are clear, and this simple protocol can significantly reduce your chance of a data breach, stolen financial credentials, or a data privacy compliance violation.

Neuron Computers can get 2FA set up easily for all your applications that access sensitive information. Contact us today and let’s get your business protected!

Call 909.418.1410 or contact us online.