Three Factor Authentication, or 3FA, makes use of three authentication methods to confirm users’ identities through credentials.
The three categories are typically knowledge, possession, and inheritance.
A three-factor authentication dramatically enhances internet security.
This is because it is difficult and rather unlikely, all things considered, that a hacker could steal all three of the required credentials for access authorization.
This results in a safer login for the user and forms an important part of multi-faceted security measures.
The three categories for authentication are knowledge, possession, and inheritance.
Knowledge involves things that a user should know while logging in.
This may include the user name, the ID, the password, the PIN, and so on.
Possession involves the things that users need to possess for logging in.
This could be a one-time password token, devices with an OTP app, an RFID card, ID cards, key fobs, and similar devices.
The last category, inheritance, refers to the biological characteristics of users.
It could involve biometrics such as fingerprint scans, iris or retinal scans, facial or voice recognition, and methods of verifying someone by their unchanging physical characteristics.
In short, the three facets of 3FA are:
1) Something that the user knows,
2) Something that the user has, and
3) Something that the user is.
The three-factor authentication is used by businesses or government sectors that need high levels of security.
In order to be considered as 3FA, the security measures must include a minimum of one element of each of the above three categories for an access attempt.
If only two of these categories are covered, then it is considered 2FA.
If security measures involve two factors from the same category, it is alternatively called Multi-Factor Authentication.
A two-factor authentication procedure is becoming an essential for internet security these days.
Breaches are on the increase and most organizations are opting for the third layer to authenticate online business services.
It can be a struggle to add another layer of authentication, noting that the general public doesn’t always use 2FA when available, but in the long run it offers stronger internet security and is better than getting our accounts hacked.
Apart from offering enhanced internet security, the biometrics are practically impossible for any hacker to duplicate.
There are no tokens, the authentication feature is persistent over time, and it would be impractical for them to have a copy of your fingerprint laying around – let alone a retinal scan.
With 3FA, hackers will have to go to more trouble while producing several false credentials.
It works by making fraud more difficult, and thereby diminishes the frequency of online fraud, as the password of the victim by itself is not sufficient for accessing his or her data.
High Risk Areas
The user of a 3FA becomes all the more crucial in while performing tasks with high-risk potential.
In this scenario, something that is merely known and something that you possess may not be enough to offer proper internet security.
Recently, there have been several attacks where One Time Codes have been stolen from users with malicious intent.
In such cases, a 3FA will stop the attacker in his tracks.
Many banks have offered hardware card readers and tokens having keypads for additional protection and internet security, though these are more expensive options and are also not user friendly.
With the use of 3FA, each of the factors increases the assurance that the person involved in the communication or wanting to access the system is indeed the one that he or she is claiming to be.
It is important in banking transactions, as passwords don’t offer full security anymore.
No doubt, 3FA authentication involves some hassle when compared to 2FA or single-factor authentication.
Businesses have to think up of improved ways of protecting the login information of users beyond merely a username and password combo.
The third factor for authentication goes beyond 2FA and provides a strong barrier, which discourages and would frustrate most attackers.
A three-factor authentication is becoming more of a mainstream option for internet security in financial companies as well as consumer-targeted businesses, but will only work if the masses adopt the practice.