[Libs-Or] Tech-Talk: INTERNET - What is 2-Factor Authentication and the Important Considerations?

HANNING Darci C * SLO Darci.HANNING at slo.oregon.gov
Tue May 25 15:14:38 PDT 2021

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This Week's Topic: INTERNET

1. ARTICLE & VIDEO ... What is 2-Factor Authentication?
2. COMMUNICATING ... Grumbling at waves?
3. LEADERSHIP ... Qualify for the role


  *   May 26: [EXCEL] Create Charts to Display Data in Excel and G-Sheets
  *   Jun 9: [WINDOWS 10] 8 Features in Windows 10 to Increase Productivity
  *   Jun 23: [EXCEL] Simple Formulas to Make Spreadsheet Calculations Easier

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INTERNET: What is 2-Factor Authentication?


Have you noticed that many of your online accounts have added an extra step when logging in? For example, your bank, social media and even platforms like Netflix are requiring you to enter a security code or receive a text with a number to gain access.
This is called 2-Factor Authentication (or 2FA).

Unfortunately, because cyber crimes have become more sophisticated, the inconvenience of an extra step is becoming highly necessary. Having your personal files or identity stolen can be crippling. Hence, additional layers of security are critical.

But Why Aren't "Strong" Passwords Enough?

You might think that if you have a password that is considered "strong" -- that this is sufficient. However, we're all on password overload with too many accounts to remember. You may have a password manager tool or a handwritten notebook. In any case, password "fatigue" can set in. It's not uncommon to use the same code over and over for convenience -- and hackers can crack these easily.

So How Does 2-Factor Authentication Work?

You've undoubtedly experienced the extra step in your current accounts ... anything from entering a pin number for your credit union or keying in your zip code when purchasing gas at the pump with a credit card.

As the name implies, there are TWO steps to logging into an account. Level one is typically a username and password. Then 2FA can be a combination of one or more additional options:

[pin number]

1. Enter a pre-set numerical PIN (personal identification number) that you have set up ahead of time. Typically, this is a string of 4 numbers.

[security questions]

2. Answer one (or more) Security Questions that you've provided answers to when you set up your account – like your "first car" or "the first name of your favorite uncle."

[push notification]

3. A "Push Notification" or Text Code sent to your smartphone or another device that you enter when logging in.

[authenticator app]

4. A Smartphone Authenticator App. The app (available for both iOS/Android devices) generates a random code used to verify your identity when you're logging into various services. Popular ones currently are Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, or Authy apps.


5. You are prompted to engage Biometrics using your fingerprint, face or retina using a smart device when logging in.

6. Then there's this biggie: Your Location is determined … and it doesn't match where you usually are … so additional info is needed. You may have experienced this trying to log into an account when you're on a different computer or traveling. All of a sudden, an extra login step is required because the platform doesn't recognize your device or IP address.

Can 2FA be Turned Off? And Do You Have to Enable it?

On some platforms you can disable the two-factor authentications ... you have a choice. Look in the Settings section of your account. However, you may not want to! It has an important purpose. Not only can it help keep hackers out of your bank account, but it makes it more difficult for them to take over your social media profiles. See this Tech-Talk article<https://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001FIiQSJuAjpthYt7tTxZDU0zT_W-OG_df713hPunRXRYR1RzRRsKCGdw1Ln25YIyuWRE8-URBfaHVZEj0HydVEJoCoW9IKT-x0u4T5p2vlOIJ4u-5ogHV1CGTyv_Te8q4QfRW3VdO4GHvC_8wJr_S6WjyLAFjNdUHrn9ssk0DQjP4E3I5FFhVRQrO6wETJZAWcvf5mXNsXWYj4k8EDiQ6fw==&c=TaSZONXu8IBJUQQOMxSSNsiQK_0oNSJJyBRf-gL39cmTzd-_qVk7uA==&ch=KEbX7ozxAHkzAKWImpKctgjSpoSwAnY7cQyTZSQ0H-lbPbfTyJhgFg==> on the multiple ways to keep your Facebook account secure.

If you don't like the 2FA method that is set up for one of your accounts, there may be options. For instance, with my bank after entering in my username and password I can choose to either: 1) Enter a pin number, 2) Receive an email with a validation link, or 3) Get a text message with a code to enter. Check to see if there are options that are more convenient for you.

The Problems (and Solutions) for Using 2-Factor Authentication When You SHARE Accounts

When you work with a team and share access to platforms it becomes a bit trickier.

Let me show you what we mean with this example:

MailChimp is an online email platform for sending emails to lists. Let's say that more than one person logs into the account to create an email, update a subscriber, etc. and that 2FA has been set. For MailChimp, like other platforms, the default method is to receive a text message. Here's the problem: If two or more people log into the account, whose number do you use? Luckily, this site has choices. In our scenario switching the 2FA method to a security question that all team members know is a secure and easy way to keep the two-factor authentication.


Here's another situation. A YouTube channel is tied to a Google account. If you need to upload a video and are not the account holder, you won't receive the Google 2FA text message with a code when logging in. Contacting the account holder for the code each time can be a pain. However, the work-around is to set up other team members as YouTube managers. Then people can access the channel from within their own Google account with the "switch accounts" option.

TIP: Here's how to make someone a manager of your YouTube account:

  *   Go to studio.youtube.com<https://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001FIiQSJuAjpthYt7tTxZDU0zT_W-OG_df713hPunRXRYR1RzRRsKCGRDFxpJ30NW7TchYrULUv-tS6ij9-hWWoyOwvSJ1B5FRVYxOYLxc-BVR47JYxJoZJfg8B5z4AaxLKgyxULOR296kSH2huD8-EQ==&c=TaSZONXu8IBJUQQOMxSSNsiQK_0oNSJJyBRf-gL39cmTzd-_qVk7uA==&ch=KEbX7ozxAHkzAKWImpKctgjSpoSwAnY7cQyTZSQ0H-lbPbfTyJhgFg==> and sign in to your account.
  *   On the left-hand side, click Settings, then go to Permissions.
  *   Click Invite and enter the email address of the person you'd like to invite.
  *   In the Access dropdown, select the role you'd like to assign to this person (Manager, Editor): And click Save.

So depending on the platform you're using, look for workarounds to the Two-Factor Authentication ... especially when you have multiple users who access the same account.

The point is to embrace and use 2FA to keep your accounts more secure!


Communicating: Self
What do you tell yourself when things get rough?

OK, I'm going to shamelessly steal this phrase that popped up in one of my apps...

"Smooth seas don't make good sailors."

Yes (with a little research) I see that the origin of the words goes to a songwriter (Neck Deep) who used these as part of a chorus. Now that we've given him credit, let's move on to why this phrase is included as a communications tip.

Think about it!

Smooth seas don't make good sailors. Imagine being on a ship and never facing more than a wave or two. Not only would that be boring, we would never know if we had the stuff it takes to tackle the big things ... the storms, the boat misfunctions, the crew interactions.

Sure, sometimes we wish it were smooth sailing all the time. But it's not possible ... or even desirable. We want the opportunity to learn about ourselves, develop new skills, and come out wiser.

So how do you communicate with yourself when the waves come along ...grumble or tell yourself you welcome these opportunities because it makes a better you?


Qualify for the role

How do you know if you're a leader?

OK, sure, if you have a management position, one might regard you as a leader. But what if you're not? And does being in a certain role make you a leader?

Here's what the 6th President of the USA had to say about this topic:

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,
do more and become more, you are a leader."

– John Quincy Adams.

Is that what you do? Yes, it's not the only way to be a leader, but it's one good aspect of it, wouldn't you say?

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