What are my options for authentication methods?

An authentication method is a process of any kind that verifies your identity and confirms that you are actively and intentionally the individual completing a specific task. This task typically refers to logging into a device, or completing a sensitive transaction of some kind. Authentication methods are imposed to confirm that you are in control of your own accounts, and are essential for proper security.


Single-Factor/Primary Authentication

Single-Factor authentication is the most basic, and therefore least secure, authentication method. It is the default of the device you are using, which for example could be either a username and password or a 4-digit passcode. We highly recommend a password manager for creating secure accounts.


Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-Factor Authentication is when you have equipped a secondary device or program for authentication, verifying your identity and reinforcing security efforts. Common examples of using 2FA include attaching Google Authenticator, Duo Mobile, or your phone number to the account/device. Check out how to attach a secondary computer or a phone to your account. 


Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is a high-assurance method, that typically enables tools like enabling biometrics/fingerprint scanners, using device-based confirmation, adding additional passwords, or pulling location/behavior information. The difference between this and Two-Factor Authentication is that 2FA always utilizes only two factors, MFA as many as your device allows your to equip, with the ability to vary between sessions, which adds an elusive element for potential invalid users.


Security Key

A security key is a physical device that must be plugged into your computer in order to allow an individual access. With a security key set up, nobody can get into the accounts unless they have both your password and physical access to the key. An example of a trusted security key is the Yubikey, which is available in both USB-A and USB-C. For help adding a security key to your account, you can check out our article on how to add a physical security key to your Internet Identity.