Skip to Content
Iphone password

All You Need to Know About Multifactor Authentication

It's cybersecurity awareness month and we're exploring topics around it. What's multifactor authentication and how can you use it to keep you safe?

In our digital world, passwords are as much a part of our lives as Netflix and Amazon. Keeping information stored in dozens of accounts across the web can make it easier to stay on top of your finances, order a new pair of jeans or even schedule a dentist appointment. Unfortunately, though, passwords can be relatively easy for scammers to hack, opening the door for identity theft, credit card fraud and more.

Here’s where multifactor authentication (MFA) comes into play. As a means of securing your information, MFA provides an extra layer of protection for your accounts and sensitive data.

Here’s all you need to know about MFA, how it works and why it’s an important step in protecting your information.

How multifactor authentication works

Multifactor authentication utilizes two or more factors to allow the user to sign into an account. Generally, these will consist of something the user knows, like a password or PIN, along with one or both of the following:

  • Something the user has. This can include a phone, key fob or smartcard.
  • Something the user is. This can include an iris or fingerprint scan, or voice or facial recognition.

Accounts that use MFA will not allow the user to sign into their account unless both factors are verified.

Why multifactor authentication is crucial for protecting sensitive information

While passwords can provide some protection against hackers, they’ve proven to be an abysmally weak barrier against hackers. A recent study by Digital Shadows, a digital risk protection company, found evidence of approximately 15 billion passwords and logins floating around the darkweb as a result of 100,000 data breaches. These passwords are up for sale to other cybercriminals, potentially providing them with access to the victims’ financial accounts, credit card information, Social Security data and more.

In addition to opening up the door to sensitive information, a single password can give the hacker entry into a victim’s private life. For example, by hacking into a victim’s Google password, the cybercriminal now has access to their email history, which can include important correspondence and other information; calendar, which can provide a complete picture of the victim’s upcoming events and meetings; YouTube account, which unlocks the victim’s viewing history and uploads, and any other apps that allow users to sign in with a Google account, such as Asana and Mint.

Unfortunately, passwords can be cracked by amateur hackers, even without a data breach. Many consumers make it even easier for hackers to break into their accounts by using weak, ineffective passwords that are simple to guess, and by using the same password across multiple accounts. For these reasons, using MFA when available — especially for accounts that store highly sensitive information — is crucial for ongoing security and protection. This way, in the event of a data breach or hack providing a criminal with your password or login credentials, your information will still be protected. Without access to your account’s second factor for authentication, the hacker has no way to gain entry into your account.

Where you may encounter MFA

In general, the more sensitive the data an account stores, the stronger security measures the company hosting or providing the account will use. Consequently, you’re most likely to encounter MFA on banking apps and accounts, money management apps, investment apps and the like. Depending on your line of work, you may also need to use MFA to sign into your personal workplace account. Finally, some retailers may offer clients the option of using MFA to sign into their accounts.

Under each of these and similar circumstances, using MFA means a login time that’s a bit longer and more complicated than just inputting a password or PIN. However, measuring this inconvenience against the time, stress and money it will take to recover from a potential data breach makes it more than worth the extra few minutes.

Stay safe!

default icon for Solution Finder Intro
What can we help you with?
default icon for Checking For Mature Members
What are you borrowing for?
default icon for Checking For Mature Members
Vehicle Options
default icon for Checking For Mature Members
Home Options
default icon for Carrolls
What are you saving for?
default icon for Carrolls
How old are your kids?
default icon for Cord
Which of these banking options are you interested in?
default icon for Cord
How old are you (or your child)?
default icon for Cord
How old are you?
default icon for Cord
What kind of account are you looking for?
search popup background

What are you looking for?

Common Links

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there a Listerhill branch in Athens?

    Our Listerhill branch in Athens, Alabama is under construction will be open and ready to serve you in spring 2022! Until then, our closest branch to the Athens, AL area is in Rogersville.

  • How is Listerhill involved with Athens State University?

    Because Listerhill also serves the Athens and Limestone County (Alabama) communities, Listerhill has recently partnered with Athens State in several ways. This includes providing $25,000 for the University’s Reading and Literacy Lab, partnering with the Athens State Alumni Association to provide access to Listerhill’s financial products and services for anyone outside Listerhill’s traditional field of membership, and providing even more free financial literacy courses to complement what the University offers to students and staff members for personal development.

  • What is the benefit of membership with Listerhill?

    At Listerhill, our focus is on “people helping people.” Whether you are looking to purchase your forever home, find your next car for that commute, or open a checking account to manage your everyday finances, we can offer you the support you need from beginning to end.

    As a nonprofit cooperative owned and operated by its members, you own an equal “share” in Listerhill and vote in elections for the Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee. That means your voice is always heard, and in turn, our actions reflect your needs and desires.

  • What is your rate and fee schedule?

    You can access our most current rate and fee schedule by downloading it here.

  • How am I eligible for membership at Listerhill if I don't live near a branch?

    You can become eligible for membership at Listerhill anywhere in Alabama if you join the Alabama Consumer Council or the Athens State Alumni Association. In Tennessee or Georgia, you can also become eligible for membership if you join the Athens State Alumni Association. This membership is initiated at no cost to you and doesn't require any setup on your part outside of the normal application process to become a member of Listerhill.