Staying Safe Online – what is Two Factor Authentication and why is it used?

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With much concern around password security and staying safe online nowadays, this article sets out to explain the basis of Two Factor Authentication and why it’s so important for staying safe online and protecting your digital footprint.

What is Two Factor Authentication?

Two factor authentication (or 2FA) is a security process in which users provide two different authentication factors to verify themselves.

2FA is implemented to better protect both a user’s credentials and the resources the user can access. It adds an extra layer of security than the older single factor authentication.

Typically, when a user tries to sign into a service they will type in their username and password and then they will be met with a second layer of security which offers a choice of receiving a code via text message or phone call or in some cases an unlocking option will be sent to the authenticator app on the user’s smart phone.

If you choose to receive the text, then you will have to type the code into the service you are trying to access to authenticate it and gain access. It has increasingly been included in the last couple of years due to the many hacking and fishing scams that have being going around.

Potential challenges to blind and vision impaired users

Some services are notoriously difficult to authenticate for blind or vision impaired users. In some cases you only get a limited amount of time to put in your second factor of the authentication process and this might cause the procedure to fail and time out!

Two factor authentication is becoming increasingly popular with online shopping sites. For example, when you check out on some online stores and enter on pay now you will be met with a message to say we have sent you a message on your banking app please log in to authenticate. Depending on how accessible or well designed the app is this can be an easy or difficult process.


In summary two factor authentication is a good thing and makes our personal data more secure. We are making you aware it is out there, and it is here to stay. A lot of big corporate companies are trying to make passwords a thing of the past and view two factor authentication as the way forward.