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MFA Definition

Basic – Cybersecurity

Reading Time – 1 minute, 17 seconds

The MFA definition(or Multi-factor authentication) is a security mechanism that verifies a user’s identification using multiple factors. When you use multi-factor authentication to protect your online account, you have to verify yourself in multiple ways such as providing your fingerprint or a verification code sent to your smartphone before you log into your account using a password.

The traditional username and password protection method is highly vulnerable to brute force attacks where the attackers keep trying many different passwords until he finds out the correct password to your account. The MFA provides multiple layers of security by making your accounts more difficult to target for online attacks. The two-factor authentication is one of the most popular forms of multifactor authentication.

The types of factors used in MFA

In MFA, there are 3 types of factors used for account verification. They are knowledge, possession, and inherence factors.

The knowledge factor means something only the user knows such as pin codes, passwords, an answer to a personal question like what is your mother’s maiden name? and swipe, tap or knock patterns used on smartphone lock screens.

The possession factor means something only the user has such as a smartphone that can receive a verification code, a USB drive with an encryption key that can be used to decrypt a protected folder on a computer, and an identification card that can be used to swipe to gain access to a secure location.

The inherence factor which is also known as biometrics identification means something only the user is such as face recognition, iris, and retinal scans, fingerprint scans, and voiceprints.

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