Two-factor Authentication, or 2FA, is a form of authentication requiring that a user prove their identity using an additional identity factor beyond their username and password. Security professionals generally recognize three basic identity categories that can be used to prove identity—things that a only the intended user knows (like a password or code), things that only the intended user has (like a mobile phone or token fob), or things that only the intended user embodies (like a fingerprint or facial structure).¶Two-factor authentication, generally regarded as more secure than authentication requiring only one factor, requires that an identity factor that is not knowledge-based also be provided for authentication. In the most common form of 2FA currently in use, a password is combined with proof of a mobile phone's possession, which is supplied by entering a code delivered at the time of login to the phone in question.¶Cases in which the user must provide two of the same kind of identity factor to authenticate, such as a password followed by a secret phrase or answer, are not true two-factor authentication, but are rather more properly referred to as two-step or multi-step authentication.
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