MFA Vs. 2FA: Which Is Better And More Secure | Hacker Noon

@josephricardJoseph Ricard

Founder & Director of Klizo Solutions. Creator of weed vending machine. Constantly building advanced tech solutions.

One data breach and your entire life is at risk.

While passwords are meant to protect sensitive data, passwords are one of the reasons data breach happens!

It is easy to fall into the trap of the sentence “stronger, complex passwords are safe and secure.” But passwords are extremely feeble ways to hack into the system and get access to resources that are way too valuable. You can come up with a password so strong and complex and yet have your system hacked in a matter of seconds.

Your strong passwords are absolutely worthless if the place it is stored is unsafe and the server gets breached. Even if the policies and regulations of a site are strong, you can still get scammed easily.

Like it or not, we are still the most vulnerable hitch in the system of security. Social engineers and hackers who have mastered the job can convince the smartest people to reveal their sensitive information via phone calls, messages, emails, or on a phishing website.

So, what’s the solution to get protection from all these iniquitous?

The answer is MFA or 2FA. 

2FA is the acronym for two-factor authentication and MFA stands for multi-factor authentication. Essentially, multi-factor authentication and 2-factor authentication add an extra layer of security in the process of authenticating a user while signing in, thus making it a little bit more complex for hackers to hack these accounts.

In this article, we will discuss the dissimilarities between them, burst some myths and clear the confusion that people have for MFA and 2FA. 

What Is the Authentication Factor?

We can put it in this way that an authentication factor is a combination of techniques that are used to authenticate the identity of a user when they try to login into a system. It basically confirms that the user is verified and the real owner of that account. 

Each technique of authentication is regarded as a factor. As passwords and usernames are segregated into the same factor, they form something as the single-factor authentication upon compiling them together or SFA. 

Altogether, there are usually three divisions of authentication factors that the majority of the account follows.

  • Inherence Authentication – It is based on biometric authentication like face recognition, fingerprints, voice recognition, etc.
  • Possession Authentication – It is about verifying the users’ credentials via a physical attribute mostly from a hardware device like software token, security token, etc.
  • Knowledge Authentication – This factor is composed of common things like passwords, usernames, email ids, etc.

There are way more than just three factors but yeah, these are the ones that get the most importance. Single-factor authentication only needs access from only one of these three factors. 

The Final Fight- Two Factor Authentication Vs Multi-Factor Authentication

Now coming to the part you all have been waiting for. 2FA and MFA.

Multi-factor authentication or MFA is a process of verification where the user needs to provide evidence from more than two of the above-mentioned categories to authenticate their identities before getting access to an application or a device. 

Yes, you guessed it correctly. In 2 Factor Authentication, you need to enter credentials for two of these categories. 

You should keep in mind that 2FA is different from 2SV (two-step verification).

When someone registers on a site,  they are asked to create a general password and username. After that, they receive a code known as the OTP via an email, text, or call which verifies their details. This code is for one-time use only and it expires after some time. This is two-step verification which may appear as same as 2FA at the first sight but the difference is loud and clear.

2SV uses one-time passwords and the only verification category that is involved is knowledge authentication, whereas 2FA needs verification from at least two categories. 

The secret to successful verification is the code and not the device. This code can be taken away without possession of the device. Hence, 2FA should never be confused or mixed with 2SV. 

Who Are The Quintessential Matches For Multi-Factor and Two-Factor Authentication?

GIF Source

Your eight-character passwords with numbers, symbols, lowercase letters, and uppercase letters are not enough to shoo away hackers. The MFA or 2FA acts as an additional layer of security to keep sensitive data safe and protected from hackers. Well, another interesting thing is all 2FA are MFAs but not all MFAs are 2FAs. 

Studies have shown that 2FA can successfully protect 99.9% of attacks that are automated. If services or platforms support multi-factor authentication, then it is better to put them to good use.

MFA/2FA should be adapted as a necessary layer of security and prevent data breaches. Especially for the government, health, and financial sectors, MFA is an absolutely needed security technique, since these organizations possess the maximum amount of sensitive data. Therefore, it is expected that the highest security measures are implemented in these areas. 

2FA and MFA are just an additional layer of protection that can safeguard your online accounts and prevent cybercrimes worth billions.

However, keep in mind that these are extra layers and one shouldn’t forget the basic necessities like coming up with strong passwords, frequently changing them, and login out of sites. 

The Moment Of Truth- MFA or 2FA?

You guys are probably excited to know who is the winner and I’m sorry to disappoint you because it is not possible to choose one over the other. 2FAs are subdivisions of MFAs only and both provide an added layer of security. It is up to your requirement to find which one is better. 

Last Words

Are you interested in building a safe website or app for your business but the security concerns stop you? Then stop worrying and give us, Klizo Solutions, a call today!

Our developers are so well-accustomed to the whole process that you can put your blind faith in us to help you build something that is not only magnificent but also super safe and protected. 

We provide some strict security factors while working with advanced techs that make it difficult for hackers to break in. These controls are enough to kick them away!

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