Secure your accounts

By Katie Ritchie


This week’s Cybersecurity Month topic is multi-factor authentication (MFA). It’s a mouthful to say, but a simple idea.

Think of it as another level of security.

If someone steals your username and password, MFA can keep thieves out of your account. It buys you time until you can change your password.

MFA requires 2 or more pieces of proof that you’re you. The 2 pieces of proof come from different categories. The categories are something you know, have or are.

Things you know would be passwords and personal identification numbers. Things you have are security tokens, special apps or verification via phone, text, or email. Something you are would be your fingerprint or facial or voice recognition.

When you have MFA enabled you login in 2 steps. First, you enter a PIN or password. Then you are prompted for another security measure – the 2nd factor. Typically these are a phone call, text message, or email of a unique code.

What accounts need MFA? Any with sensitive information. The National Institute of Standards and Technology suggests you use MFA for your primary email, financial accounts, and health records.

Next week: How does SC rank for identity theft and fraud?