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Is There an Alternative to 2FA?


Two-factor authentication (2FA) can prevent network infiltration, but organizations may refrain from adopting it for reasons such as the integration work it would require, complications with requiring it on different operating systems, applications, network entry points, etc. But is there an alternative to 2FA that’s just as capable of securing a network?

The short answer is no. Though there may be supplementary tools to secure your network, none can reliably secure identities like requiring multiple factors for authentication. Read on to find out why.

Why Use 2FA?

Two-factor authentication was introduced as a way to keep IT resources like networks and accounts secure. It’s a combination of something you know (your credentials) with something you have (a randomized, numerical code retrieved from your device, or a USB key), or something you are (your facial features or fingerprint) for authentication. Adding an extra layer to authentication keeps IT resources secure by requiring more information to verify that the user attempting to gain entry to their resources is authentic.

Of course, there are other ways to secure IT resources, such as enforcing password policies. But no matter how complex a policy requires a password to be, a user’s credentials can still be stolen or otherwise compromised. Two-factor authentication can prevent threats from being introduced to a network in the first place.

Two-factor authentication ensures digital identity thieves can’t get further than the login screen without access to a user’s second form of authentication. This supplementary form of authentication can take the form of an SMS code sent to their smartphone, biometric data, TOTP tokens, or a USB key. Some versions are more secure than others, which we’ll get into later.

Life Without 2FA

2FA is critical in preventing account takeovers and data breaches. For example, in 2019, the data of 190,000 Docker users was exposed. Many employees expressed concern on social media and forums about the company’s reluctance to implement 2FA after the incident, causing speculation that the breach was due to a lack thereof.

Bad actors frequently acquire user credentials via phishing attempts or brute force techniques. Though 2FA doesn’t block (Read more…)



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