Keeping your information safe from hackers seems like a full-time job anymore. How many times a week do you go to log into an account then get asked to enter a code sent to your cell phone? If you are like most people, waiting for a text message so you can enter the additional information seems to happen all the time, and is often annoying.
If you are tired of that process, I have good – and bad – news for you. While using texted multi-factor authentication (MFA) process is definitely safer than simply entering your username and password, hackers are finding ways around this extra level of security. For example, posing as you, they will reach out to your cell phone carrier and convince them that you have swapped out your SIM card. Once they have access, they will reset your passwords, so they receive the MFA sent to your phone. And just like that, they have access to your email or whatever site you were attempting to log into.
So, what is the next best thing in securing your data? Authenticator apps, while not new, are gaining in popularity due to their enhanced security. In essence, it is easier for hackers to gain access to your text messages than your physical phone. Authenticator apps live on your phone and generate a new random 6–8-digit code every 30 seconds. Instead of receiving a code via text message, you can enter a code from your app. By constantly generating new access codes, it is MUCH HARDER for a hacker to crack the code before a new one is created.
Authenticator apps can be set up to protect any application set up for MFA. If you haven’t already, a good place to start is with your bank login or any account that includes payment information. Since most people do not follow good password protocols (frequently changed, randomly created, and never repeated), it is good practice to eventually set up an authenticator app for any account that requires a login.
There are a variety of authorization apps to choose from (partial list of options below), and pros and cons for each, so if you need help updating your security using one, let us know and we can help you choose the best one for your specific needs.