There has been increasing hacking, identity theft and other online scams in recent years. Fortunately, as the scams get more sophisticated, so do the security measures developed to keep you safe online. However, it is up to each individual or business to ensure they are utilising the latest security measures to keep your data safe. This article looks at multi-factor authentication and why you need to activate it across all your accounts if you want to stay secure online.
What is multi-factor authentication?
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is the security process that requires multiple authentications from independent sources to verify your identity. MFA has become so important, because even if someone knows your username and password on an app or account, another one or two independent verification steps are needed before they can gain complete access.
Why do I need multi-factor authentication?
According to the Australian Government Scamwatch, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has received more than 80,000 reports from people who have experienced online attempts to gain personal information since January 2022 alone. Of the reports, 4.6% resulted in a financial loss of more than $43 million. Here is a breakdown of the type of scams that were reported:
- Hacking– there were 9,008 reports resulting in a loss of $2,661,432
- Identity theft– there were 11,560 reports resulting in the loss of $7,936,794
- Phishing– there were 50,006 reports resulting in the loss of $13,994,396
- Remote access scams– there were 9,630 reports resulting in the loss of $18,740,797
*These figures are from the ACCC Scamwatch website from January 2022 to October 2022
How does multi-factor authentication prevent scams?
Multi-factor authentication is one of the most effective safeguards against hackers trying to access your personal information.
MFA uses at least three factors to verify a person’s identity:
- Something you know – your username, password, pin or a pre-determined security question.
- Something you have access to – a device or phone where you can receive a verification code via SMS, a multi-factor authentication app or a token in your possession.
- You – your fingerprint or other biometric like a scanning your face.
According to Microsoft, MFA can “prevent 99.9 per cent of attacks on your accounts”, so you can see why implementing three steps is so important.
How do I set up multi-factor authentication?
MFA has been implemented as the industry standard over the last few years, especially following a significant increase in hacking and scams during the 2020 pandemic.
Since they you’ve likely been asked to set it up on one or two apps, accounts or devices; but you need to set it up on everything you access online.
Here are just a few places to check that you have implemented MFA:
- Banking apps
Each company will have their way of activating MFA, and you can usually complete it by following the instructions. However, some may have a more complex process if they are linked to your business, or hold sensitive data.
We hope this article has helped you understand multi-factor authentication and why it’s necessary. If you’re unsure how to implement MFA on your accounts or you’re a business that needs an audit of your security authentication processes, we’re here to help.
Need help setting up multi-factor authentication
At Computer Cures, our expert team can help you improve the security of your digital presence and help protect you against online scams by implementing multi-factor authentication across all your personal and business accounts. Give us a call on 1300 553 166, to see how we can secure all your devices and accounts.