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Monday, February 04, 2008

What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) refers to a security system (currently being used in industry like banks) whereby 2 levels of authentication are required before access can be granted. In the past, usually only a pair of username and password is required for authentication. The current 2FA now comprises of the familiar identity check using username and password, plus an additional level of authentication using a physical token device or phone SMS to get a One-Time Password (OTP). With the pair of valid username and password plus a valid OTP, an user can then gain access to an online service. These two levels of identity checks help boost security against online banking crimes.

The physical token device is capable of generating random string of digits (usually 8 digits). This string of digits will usually expires within 15 minutes or less. Some banks offered alternative methods in getting a OTP like via phone SMS. Similarly, the OTP also has an expiry period.

In Singapore, all banks are required to apply 2FA to make Online Banking more secure.

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