A password system is needed to have access to your account on any website you sign up. Usually, you have a unique password — a combination of characters that is known only to you. However, technology does not stand on the guard of your interests, yet in attempts to steal your data as well. Therefore, online accounts are hacked, and it’s a common issue.
One password is no longer enough to provide 100% protection of your data.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is protecting your account not only with a password but with the data medium that belongs to you. How does it work? In fact, you use this system having any bank card. A storage medium is a plastic card, and a password is a PIN code to access this card.
How does it work with cryptocurrency exchanges? In this case, your smartphone, fingerprint, security key, or other data source could be a storage medium.
Let’s look at this example: you want to log into your account on the cryptocurrency exchange. The system asks you to enter a password. The password was entered successfully, but before letting you into your online account, the system sends you a unique code – SMS message, email, or push notification. You can choose the most convenient way for yourself to get such confirmation. And only if you enter this confirmation code correctly, you enter the account.
It seems such an annoying process for people who are always in a hurry. But how does it help to protect your data? Can hackers crack the system? Let us answer these questions.
We have already dealt with passwords and determined that they are not a sufficient way of protection. Your password may be exposed at any time. But there are other ways to get the password, i.e., using phishing and password selection based on data leaked on the web. This perspective is more real and widespread than it sounds. Users of Apple iCloud, AdGuard and even Github have become the victims of such manipulations in different years.
Two-factor authentication will save you from phishing. Only a reliable website sends you a code to confirm your entry. Fake or scam websites don’t usually generate a confirmation code that works properly.
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This is the least reliable type of 2FA, yet it is better than common password authentication. SMS is not encrypted, so hackers have a chance to access it. In case your smartphone is stolen or lost, you cannot use this type of authentication.
Authenticator applications are installed on your device, and you can get a verification code with their help. The connection is better protected, so it is unlikely to be hacked. However, if you lose the device, this method will not help you either with restoring access to your data.
This authentication method uses a fingerprint, face recognition technology, or an iris pattern that is as unique as a fingerprint. Of course, some modern hackers have learned to overcome even such a defense tool, yet their chances, in this case, are less successful.
This is the most reliable 2FA method. It is a physical device that you insert into the USB-connector of your laptop, PC, or other devices. This is the second step of 2FA in this case. Without hardware token even knowing your password will not help the fraudster.
Unfortunately, 2FA cannot protect your account in 100%. The cyber-attack can be made on the cryptocurrency exchange server, which means the threat to the security of your data. Yet 2FA makes it more difficult to hack your account, and hackers who do not have the coolest skills and advanced software will certainly not be able to get it.
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You will immediately see a list of options below your username, the first in which is a proposal to enable two-factor authentication. It will be highlighted in blue and located directly below your nickname.
By clicking on the blue text, you will be redirected to a page where you will see a list called «Security». Scroll down until you see the «Two-factor authentication» section. Click «Enable».
Install the Google Authenticator app. Its icon will appear in the upper-right part of the browser window.
– By clicking on the «Enable» button, you will see a window with a QR code and symbols. If your device cannot read the QR code, you can enter these characters manually in Google Authenticator. Just choose the option that is more convenient for you.
– If you select a manual entry, you will see a window in which in the «Enter account name» field you need to enter the email address to which your account is registered, and in the «Enter your key» field — a combination of characters, which you can see below the QR code.
— Click «Add». The application will generate a token — a unique combination of numbers that you need to enter on the website. In the screenshot, this area is highlighted in red.
Done! You have enabled two-factor authentication (2FA) on BTC-Alpha. You can disable it in the same section, but we strongly recommend you do not perform this operation because of the security reasons described in this article.