What Is a Two-step Verification Process?
Two-step verification, also known as two-factor authentication (2FA) or dual-factor authentication, is a security process in which a user provides two types of identification to verify themselves when accessing a service or system. This authentication method is designed to enhance security by adding an additional layer of protection beyond just a username and password.
The most common implementation of two-step verification involves a password (something the user knows) and a one-time passcode (something the user has) sent to the user's mobile device via SMS or generated by an authenticator app. The user must enter this code, valid only for a short time, to complete the login process.
Here's a typical example of how a two-step verification process works:
- The user enters their username and password on the login page of a website or application.
- If the username and password are correct, the system triggers a second step: it sends a one-time passcode to the user's registered mobile device via SMS, or the user retrieves a code from an authenticator app.
- The user then enters this passcode into the system.
- If the passcode is correct, the user gains access to the system.
By requiring two different types of credentials, two-step verification significantly enhances the security of user accounts. Even if an attacker obtains a user's password, they would still need to bypass the second layer of protection, which would be challenging without physical access to the user's device or biometric data. As such, two-step verification is a widely recommended security practice for protecting sensitive systems and data.