Glossary

Two Factor Authentication

Two Factor Authentication is a way to verify the identities of users through a combination of passwords, logins, and another authentication factor.  If a user positively authenticates themselves through two factor authentication, they are then granted access to the application and data.

Terms related to Two Factor Authentication: Multifactor Authentication, Biometrics, Access, Authorization, Cybersecurity, Algorithms, Biometrics, Social Engineering, Phishing.

Two Factor Authentication (TFA) requires authorized login details from users to ensure they are who they say they are. A standard, single factor authentication system typically only requires a login and a password (the single factor) to provide authorization. Two factor authentication goes a step further and requires another piece of unique information before a user is verified and granted access.

There are several ways to provide a second type of authentication, including:

  • A one time password provided via an email, SMS, text message, or other means.
  • A secure key that provides unique codes generated by algorithms, based on time accessed and some other information.
  • A hardware dongle or device that can be affixed to a computer.
  • A piece of biometric data like a fingerprint, iris scan, or voice recognition pattern.

TFA is much more secure than single factor authentication, because even if a hacker is able to steal password and login information, it is very challenging to provide that second, vital credential.

Multifactor authentication is a further step up from TFA and can involve providing an additional two types of credential in addition to the login and password.

Two Factor Authentication Resources from Crossmatch