Lock Down Your Login with MFA

October 8, 2018

Passwords are the keys to most devices and almost everything you do online. Unfortunately, even the best passwords can get hacked, stolen or unintentionally shared. But fortunately, there is an easy way to add another layer of protection in addition to your username and password to make your login more secure. This is called multi-factor authentication, or MFA.

What is MFA?

MFA diagram

MFA, sometimes referred to as two-factor (2FA) or two-step authentication, is a security enhancement that requires you to present an additional piece of information beyond your username and password when logging in to an account. This additional information is usually in the form of:

  • Something you have (like an app on your phone, a token, or smart card);
  • Something you are (like your fingerprint or facial/speech recognition).

Why use MFA?

Although stopping all online crime is not a realistic goal, simple steps can greatly reduce the likelihood you’ll be the next victim.

MFA helps protect you by adding an additional layer of security, making it harder for bad guys to log in as if they were you. Even if they had your password, they would still need your phone or token – your second “factor” – to get in.

Turn on MFA today!

While two-factor authentication may seem like more work at first, it will make your accounts and personal information substantially more secure. Don’t wait until your accounts have been hacked; lock down your login today and enjoy greater peace of mind.

You should use MFA whenever possible, especially for your most sensitive accounts—like your email, bank accounts, health records, and social media. While some organizations require you to use MFA, many offer it as an extra option that you can enable—but you must take the initiative to turn it on.

Please consider using MFA with your UCSB Connect or UMail account, find out how easy it is to turn on here: https://www.connect.ucsb.edu/usage/google-apps/activating-2-factor-authe...

You can find a list of websites that offer MFA along with step-by-step instructions for turning it on here: https://www.turnon2fa.com/tutorials/

Credits: Portions of this article adapted from NIST. Image from NIST.