30 Sep 2013

Tips and tricks for using two factor Authentication Technology

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Single password protection techniques, while a well-used and ancient method of protecting access to information or location, are no longer something that can guarantee a reliable means of protecting what you want to keep private. With the widely distributed existence of intrusion methods like keystroke loggers, phishing attacks, eavesdropping in general and dictionary attacking programs that can run through millions of possible passwords in minutes, having a single password as your only protective barrier to data entry is not something you can entirely trust. Because of this a new standard in data protection has had to be developed that is much more secure. It is called Two Factor Authentication and has become very popular in the digital world recently. Used by online software applications like Drop Box, data storage platforms like those belonging to Google and numerous other server or physical machine based access points; two factor verification comes in many forms. However, it’s essential structure is as follows: Instead of a single access password that gives a user entry to a given area of digital space, two independent and separated factors are used instead. One of these remains the password while the other is a piece of completely distinct access data that is usually delivered either via message to a mobile device or directly to a physical data token. However two factor authentications is specifically implemented; the key feature that it needs to have is a two level access system of two completely distinct pieces of login data. In less robust systems, the secondary token or mobile device based login data will be a secondary static password or a static access chip; in more robust two factor authentication setups, in addition to the original classical password, the secondary access key is a one-time item, meaning that each new login attempt generates a unique access key for that one single session, sent to a physical token or a mobile device (phone usually, could also be a tablet. Most commercially available two factor systems are too complex and expensive for home or small business computer networks and, although this is changing thanks to innovations by the people at Google and other companies, cost remains something of a burden for smaller operators who want to secure their computers or compact server networks.
However, not all is lost; even you, whether you’re working with online data management apps, your personal computer or even a small Linux based server network, can set up two factor authorization to maximally protect all your crucial data access points with the best reasonably possible security. Numerous online applications and platforms are designed to let you enable two factor authentications.  The online cloud storage system Drop Box, Google and all of its accounts, Face book and a number of other lesser known programs are all two factor capable. Let’s cover the three most commonly used online platforms. If you happen to use Google for your email, social networking and document storage (through Drive) you can set up two factor protection In the case of Face book, two factor authorization can be enabled from within your account settings gear icon by clicking on the “Privacy Settings” tab and then clicking on “Security on the left-hand side. There you will be presented with a list of items, “Login Approvals” and “Recognized Devices being the two you should select.  A handy guide that’s been created by Face book itself is available herewith Drop Box, arranging two factor authentication is also pretty simple. You simply log into your Drop Box dashboard, go to “Settings”; select the “Security Settings” tab and enable two factor authentications. From there you should follow the step by step instructions that the system itself gives you.In the case of all of these above web-based applications and many others that you’re likely to find with services such as online banking and cloud computing companies, the essential secondary login token will be either a static or variable passkey that’s delivered to your mobile phone. This represents a classical and very common two facto setup that is both hassle free and easy to implement amongst millions of customers because it does not depend on any specialized hardware or programming knowledge.

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