Security Factors

It can be a bother to remember all your passwords, but appropriate levels of cybersecurity are necessary. For example, if you had no password on your email or bank account, anyone could hop in there and take it as their own.

If you have a phone or computer with absolutely no sensitive or critical information on it, you might choose to have no password on it. That’s zero-factor security, and that’s just fine.

In any other situation, you are going to need at least one-factor security. Typically, that factor is a “knowledge factor”, commonly known as a password or a PIN. Other factors that can be used instead are typically a “possession factor” (like an ID card or unique mobile device) or an “inherence factor” (like fingerprints or other biometrics). In any case, keep your factors safe … they are like the keys to your car.

In situations that warrant it, two-factor authentication (2FA) can be used that combine two of those three factors. You might use this on your accounts that involve money or sensitive/critical information, and especially if you are generally a target for hackers, like a public figure or business owner. Mobile phones are commonly used as a “second factor”, but doing so can be cumbersome, so physical “security tokens” like Yubikey or Titan (both are USB keys, but Titan is also wireless) are becoming popular.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) combines two or more factors and can sometimes include location (from a GPS) and time (from an accurate source). James Bond stuff.

It’s good to know something about security, but there are two important takeaways from this article: use appropriate security, and keep your security factors safe.