What is the Difference Between 2FA and MFA?

Webster’s dictionary defines the term “Security” as the state of being protected or safe from harm. In relation to online security nothing screams protection more than authentication, and what’s a better way to authenticate a person’s identity than requiring them to provide specific evidence before gaining access to a device or application?

In short, two-factor authentication simply means utilizing TWO factors to verify a person’s identity and multi-factor authentication refers to any number of factors greater than one to confirm a person’s identity.

What Factors Define 2FA or MFA?

These security controls are replacing the norms of relying on single passwords alone and instead offer a more secure way to access files, devices, email accounts, etc. The factors that typically come into play when using 2FA or MFA include:

1. Possession: generally refers to a password.

2. Knowledge: requesting the user to log in by providing information only he/she knows.

3. Inherence: relies on specific characteristics such as fingerprint or voice recognition.

 

What Method is the Most Secure?

This may be an obvious question but an important one to ask… The more factors that are required to validate someone’s identity must mean that method is more secure right? Correct! Nowadays single passwords can easily be infiltrated and compromised by an experienced hacker with a single click but obtaining a fingerprint or replicating a retina scan is a whole different story. Physical characteristics are nearly impossible to duplicate and that’s what makes MFA so superior to its counterparts.

Conclusion

Multi-factor authentication typically refers to two or more ways of confirming a person’s identity whereas two-factor authentication will always be limited to two factors. Both are great ways to control security and limit the possibility of online breaches.