What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication—also known as 2FA, multi-factor authentication, or MFA—is an additional layer of security for your online accounts beyond your password.

When it comes to online accounts, passwords can become compromised in hacks or breaches, or end up for sale on the dark web. 2FA protects against compromised passwords by also requiring something like a confirmation on your phone or a one-time code sent to your email as a second method of authentication to prove you are who you say you are.

Why should I use two-factor authentication?

You should use two-factor authentication for the same reason you keep your savings in a bank instead of your wallet—things that are highly valuable require additional security. And for the same reason that you don’t keep everything in a bank, you don’t need 2FA for every single account. It’s intended to add protection for critical accounts—like your email, social media, and banking accounts. Simply having strong passwords is enough in most cases, especially when you use a password manager that makes it easy to create unique, complex passwords for each account.

If you’re sold on 2FA, skip ahead to the last section of this post to learn how to get started in Dashlane. If you’re still a bit confused about what 2FA is and how it works, check out some of these everyday examples to give you a better idea.

Examples of two-factor authentication

  1. Using a PIN at an ATM. In this case, your physical debit card is the first method of authentication, and your PIN number is the second method of authentication. So, even if a someone has your credit card, they can’t gain access to your funds because they don’t know the PIN.
  2. Using your fingerprint or face recognition to access an app on your phone. In this case, your physical phone is the first method of authentication, and your fingerprint or face is the second method of authentication. So, even if someone has your phone, they can’t access the app because they don’t have your fingerprint or face—we hope!
  3. Typing in a one-time code sent to your phone or to your email to confirm access to an account after you’ve typed in the password. In this case, your password is the first method of authentication, and the one-time code you receive on your phone or in your email is the second method of authentication. So, even if someone has the password to your account, they can’t get into the account unless they also have the one-time code which is sent directly to your device or your email.

How do I set up 2FA with Dashlane?

Two-factor authentication setup can differ depending on which services you use. TurnOn2FA is a great resource that lets you search for instructions on how to turn on 2FA for most services. You can also check Google if you can’t find it on TurnOn2FA.

If you’re a Dashlane user, two-factor authentication is just a few taps away. Follow these instructions to enable and turn on 2FA across your devices and your critical accounts.

If you’re not a Dashlane user, download Dashlane, add your critical accounts, and then enable and turn on 2FA with the instructions above.

A few other recommendations to help you excel with two-factor authentication:

  • Start by adding 2FA on your primary email account, and then add it to your social media and banking or finance accounts.
  • You should avoid using SMS or text-based 2FA if possible; however, in a case where SMS or text-based 2FA is the only option, it’s still more secure than just using a password.
  • For ultimate security, you should use a physical device, like a YubiKey, as your 2FA method of choice.
Getting started with Gmail's Two-factor authentication
Do you use Gmail? Add 2FA to your account—click this image to get started.
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