We live in an era where the amount of valuable data businesses must store is increasing at an unprecedented pace. Consequently, the number of “bad guys” trying to gain access to that data is also increasing, and hackers have some pretty sophisticated tools at their disposal to try to force their way into your data. They use a variety of tactics, including social engineering, brute force attacks and dictionary attacks, among others.
The problem is made worse by the prevalence of weak passwords. Did you know that, even in 2016, one of the most common passwords is 12345678? In an experiment conducted in 2013, with the help of a list of hashed passwords obtained online, hackers were able to crack about 90% of a list of over 16,000 passwords.
Passwords are not just vulnerable to external threats. They must be protected from internal threats as well. Have you ever written down a password on a piece of paper, and then thrown it in the garbage? Have you ever discarded an old hard drive without destroying it? If this information gets in the wrong hands, it can lead to severe financial loss for a company, and damage to its reputation.
Passwords and usernames belong to one of three types of identification data:
- Something you know
- Something you own
- Something you are or do (such as a fingerprint or other biometric element)
Passwords and usernames fall within the category of “something you know.” The three items listed above are considered factors of authentication, so when only one type of data is used to log into a system (such as a username and password), you are using a single factor of authentication.
Passwords alone are often not enough to protect your data against increasingly sophisticated attacks. Requiring a second factor of authentication can drastically reduce data theft.
Two-factor authentication is not a new concept. In fact, most of us already use it in other ways besides accessing our email. Here are some examples of two-factor authentication that many of us already use daily:
- An ATM card (something you own) and a PIN (something you know)
- A credit card (something you own) and a zip code (something you know)
- A phone (something you own) and a fingerprint (something you are)
In MDaemon 16, we added two-factor authentication for WorldClient, MDaemon’s webmail client. With two-factor authentication, users must provide two forms of authentication – a password and a unique verification code that is obtained via any client that supports Google Authenticator (available in the Google Play store).
Two-factor authentication has many benefits:
- It provides an extra layer of defense when a password isn’t strong enough.
- It reduces online identity theft, phishing, and other techniques because a victim’s password isn’t enough to gain access to his or her data.
- It helps companies in finance, health care, and other industries comply with PCI, HIPAA and other regulations.
- It makes working remotely safer.
In this video, we demonstrate how to enable and use two-factor authentication in MDaemon and WorldClient.
If you’re concerned about privacy and security, two-factor authentication provides extra protection for your data. Upgrade to MDaemon 16 to take advantage of this extra security, or click here to download your free trial!