Two-Factor Authentication

Email & Security 

Email is the tool we use every day. We’ve been using mailboxes for years and we tend not to consider whether they are secure or not. This is a mistake. Our personal life, our professional life, everything is tied into our mailboxes.

Most services now use your email address as your primary identifier and your email is usually a dependency for retrieval of a lost password, making your inbox the gateway to your entire online presence. We also use email to send and receive important and confidential documents; and as the inbox evolves through integrating with multiple third-party services, (such as social media), securing your inbox becomes an even bigger concern.

Email has become a really juicy target for anyone with bad intentions.

IS A PASSWORD SECURE ENOUGH?

When we think about protecting a device or an account, a password is often the first thing that comes to mind even though it is actually not that secure. Most of, if not all, passwords can be hacked. – it’s just a matter of how much time and effort hackers are willing to put into forcing their way into your account.

Several services have started exploring new ways to protect their users’ accounts. For example, Medium have recently replaced passwords with a temporary access URL, sent to the user’s email address. Mastercard are exploring ways to use facial recognition to confirm payment.

To date, no single-factor solution has proven to be 100% effective.

TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

Two-factor authentication (also known as 2FA) identifies users with a combination of two different components based on the assumption that an illegitimate user is unlikely to be able to provide both factors required for access.

The authentication factors of a two-factor authentication scheme may include:

  • A physical object in the possession of the user, such as a USB stick with a secret token, a bank card, a key, etc.
  • A secret that is known to the user, such as a username, password, PIN, TAN, etc.
  • A physical characteristic of the user (biometrics), such as a fingerprint, eye iris, voice, typing speed, a pattern in key press intervals, etc

For example, to make a credit card payment in person, you need to have both the card itself and the PIN code to be able to complete the transaction. Alternatively, to make a credit card payment online you need the CCV number, only available on the back of the physical card and, therefore, requires that you have access to the card.

Adding a second factor drastically increases the security and lowers the risks of being hacked.

CRYPTOPHOTO FOR 2FA

CryptoPhoto, an Australian company, features multi-factor authentication technology that uses images instead of codes to ensure a simple, secure internet access and security solution. Relying on the human ability to process pictures faster than typing codes, CryptoPhoto is intuitive and user-friendly as well as very secure. The company recently received two awards at the prestigious QLD iAwards for their innovative application.

By connecting CryptoPhoto to your atmail account, you will be shown a picture that you will have to find and identify using the smartphone application. You can then either tap the picture or enter its associated code in your atmail login page ensuring that your are the rightful owner of the account. This makes for a quick, but very secure, way of protecting your account and personal data. 

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By Mark | July 22, 2015

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