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2fa: A Practice Protecting You Against Cybercrime

date November 13, 2020 time 3 min read 2165 views

Did you know the average American has over 25 online accounts that require password access? On top of that, 66% of Americans use the same password for each account!

I understand, it makes sense to have a password that you can remember and use for everything. Because, well — you’re not a robot. But doing this puts you and your personal information at risk. 

Once someone steals your password, they could, in theory, access every online account you have – including your financial accounts – and then steal your money or identity.

To protect you from these risks, many online companies ask you to verify yourself using a device you own, such as a mobile phone. This is called 2-factor authentication (2FA).

Is that really you logging in? 

The primary goal of 2FA is to confirm your identity by verifying two types of evidence. 

An example of 2FA would be accessing your credit card account on the phone. In this case, the card issuer asks you for your social security number along with a question that only you’d know the answer to. Something like, “in which city was your father born?” 

For years, credit cards and financial accounts were the only reason you’d have to authenticate your identity. But today, if you use the internet, there are many accounts that you wouldn’t want just anyone to have access to. 

The origins of 2FA

Checking your identity twice began in the late 1960s when banks gave customers debit cards. In this case, the corresponding PIN that goes with the card acts as the second check that verifies you.  

Fast forward to the internet-age and websites began looking for ways to double protect your private information. This is why in 2005 — before 2FA found its way onto your smartphone — financial institutions began giving customers “security tokens.” 

These “tokens” were small, wireless devices that flashed a one-time code that you needed every time you accessed your bank account. 

The problem with security tokens though, was that customers hated the idea of carrying around yet another device — and potentially one for every service that required additional security. They were also small and easily lost or stolen. 

Fortunately, the global use of Apple and Android smartphones helped change all of this. With smartphones, came apps like Authy and Google Authenticator (both used on MyConstant). 

You just download one of the apps on your phone, and when you sign in to your account, a one-time code is sent to the authenticator app. You enter that code on to the screen and voila — you’re logged in. 

Simple ways to protect yourself

It’s important to remember though that 2FA isn’t a silver bullet against cybercriminals. Think of it more as a deadbolt on a locked door — a countermeasure.  

For as many things that we do to guard your information, it’s important that you take steps to do the same.

The 2FA process on MyConstant 

On MyConstant, you can use Google Authenticator or Authy for 2FA. 

You can find both apps on Apple’s App Store, Google Play or Chrome Web Store (if you’re using a desktop). You’ll need to download one of the apps before completing the process on your MyConstant account.   

For desktop users: 

  1. Log into your account and click on Account activity. Then, on the left side of the screen click, Account security. There, you’ll find the Google Authentication which you toggle to active. 
  1. At this point, you’ll be taken to a screen with a scannable QR code, or a number/letter code that you can copy/paste into the authenticator app. 
  1. The app will then give you a six-digit code that you enter on your MyConstant account. 

For mobile users:

  1. Log into your account and click the Account page on the left side of the screen. On the lower right corner click Security. From here, you’ll see the Google Authentication at the top of the page, which you’ll toggle to activate. 
  1. From here, you’ll copy/paste the code and enter it into the authenticator app. 
  1. The app will then give you a six-digit code that you enter on your MyConstant account. 

Keep in mind, the information above is an overview. If you want a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up your 2FA, check out our blog.

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Trevor Kraus

Trevor Kraus

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Tags: What is 2FA Why do we use 2FA How 2FA protects customers How do I get 2FA

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