Why You Need To Enable 2FA on Your Email Now

Two is better than one.

Two-Factor Authentication for Your Email

 

This short video explains two-factor authentication, how it works, and why it’s so important to secure your email accounts and data. It features Network People President, Nate Freeman and Corey Joy, CIO. 

It’s time to have a serious talk about two-factor authentication and your email security. Cybercrime is a trillion-dollar industry that’s not limited to large or global corporations. Individuals and small to mid-sized businesses are just as vulnerable, and the financial risk is great. Network People was made aware of three different scams in the last two weeks in which wire payments were sent to hackers. The payments ranged between $300,000 and $1.5 million. None of these businesses had more than 40 employees. The smallest had only four.

How is this possible? The answer is trust. Hackers trust that we’re making one of the most common mistakes when it comes to email security: Using a single password to secure our email accounts online. Relying on a single password to protect your email account puts you, your clients, and your business at risk. And yet, most of us do it. We do it for convenience or because we think we just don’t have to the time to implement other security measures.

Once hackers breach your security, they rely on the trust your clients put in you in order to pull off their con. They study your emails and notice who is copied on your company’s invoices. They send invoices that look and sound like you. One local business experienced this first-hand. Hackers resent invoices asking for wire payments stating that the bank was no longer accepting checks. Because the invoices looked authentic and included information that only the company would know, and because the email came from a trusted source, the clients complied. If you want to protect your business and clients, and the relationship you’ve built with them, you can no longer afford to trust a simple password to protect your email accounts.

Two-factor authentication is a simple step you can take to protect your email from hackers and cyber-criminals looking to exploit you and your clients. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is the common sub-set of Multi-factor authentication (MFA) which means any number of factors greater than one.   2FA is just what it says it is: It’s the requirement of two types of identity verification in order to secure online accounts and information. It means using a password (something you know) and usually touch ID and your phone (something you are and have) in order to access your email account.

Phone with authentication app

Before we discuss 2FA in greater detail, it’s important to understand just how email accounts are breached:

Brute Force: This is like the neighborhood prowler attempting to break into your home. They may try to pick the lock, break a window, or kick down the door. In this case, hackers throw password hacking programs or code at your online email account until they’ve breached your security and gained entry.

Malicious Code: Unlike brute force, malicious code comes through the door usually with your help. Instead of knocking down your door, they’ve found the secret key you hide underneath the flower pot. Unknowingly, you may click on a pop-up on our screen or a link that allows malicious code to be installed. That code grabs your password and the hacker is in.

Social Engineering: The con-artist of email account hacking is social engineering. Hackers talk their way inside by convincing you to share valuable information or click a link in a cleverly written and convincing email. That information or link allows them to access your email and the valuable information it contains.

No matter how they get in the door, the damage is done. And if it’s not discovered in time, the recovery is far more time consuming and costly than the steps you could have taken to prevent this security breach. In this case the old proverb, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, proves true. When it comes to security, two is better than one. And it’s easier to install and apply than you think.

Once installed, 2FA isn’t time consuming. For example, Microsoft 365 offers the free Authenticator app which changes passcodes in the cloud every thirty seconds. Once you enter your personal password, you use your fingerprint to access the Authenticator passcode. When using the Outlook application on your computer, you won’t have to enter that code every time. Outlook will save that two-factor authentication on your computer and even your phone. However, anytime you open Outlook through a web browser or new device, this two-factor authentication process is the simple step you will take in order to protect your account.

Two-factor authentication is one of your best defenses against an email security breach. Installation takes approximately 15 minutes per user. The actual process of using 2FA takes less than 30 seconds. It’s a small price to pay for protection and peace of mind. 

Setup 2FA

The next step is activate the Two-Factor Authentication capability on your company or family Microsoft Account. 

Once that is done you will be ready to setup your individual 2FA authentication.  Below is a link to a step by step process that each user can follow. 

How to Setup Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for Microsoft 365.

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