The Importance of Two-Factor Authentication in Preventing Account Takeover

Account takeover fraud can lead to massive financial losses. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is an easy and cost-effective way to prevent this from happening.

This week, Google’s security blog posted data that shows 2FA does prevent most hacks. However, it does not stop credential-stuffing attacks. This is a major problem since most accounts in small businesses are accessed remotely.


The key to getting the most buy-in for your 2FA adoption plan is to ensure it’s tailored to your business. Speak with stakeholders in your organization – executives, security team, IT, operations teams, and others – to understand what’s important to them. Then, frame your strategy around what matters to them to magnify its impact.

For example, it’s worth exploring alternatives if your organization uses a cloud-based solution that depends on an outside provider to offer SMS 2FA. These solutions provide more flexibility and improved usability that will boost engagement levels and increase your odds of achieving high levels of adoption.

Account takeover fraud happens when a fraudster gains access to an authenticated account and changes the report, including payment methods, contact details and passwords. By adding a verification step at login, such as an OTP sent to the user’s mobile device or a second authentication factor like a physical security token or biometrics factor such as a fingerprint scan, you can protect your users’ accounts and prevent account takeover from remote attacks.


To prevent account takeover, many websites use 2FA, which requires a second form of authentication to log in. This second form of authentication is usually a one-time code sent to a user’s phone or other device. If the user inputs this code in addition to their username and password, the website can be sure it is a legitimate user. This prevents criminals from using stolen passwords to hack a user’s account.

TOTP authentication uses an open standard to generate time-based numeric codes based on two inputs: the secret key and the system clock. The private key is shared between the client and the server, and both sides store it securely. When the user authenticates, the secret generates a unique token on the client that the server can validate.

This type of 2FA is often used in industries that handle sensitive information, such as banks and healthcare providers, to maintain secure communications and transactions. Government agencies also use it to protect confidential data from hackers and scammers. TOTPs are also essential in preventing phishing attacks, which involve a criminal pretending to be a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication (email, SMS, or voice call). A second form of authentication, like TOTP, helps ensure that cybercriminals cannot use stolen passwords.

Voice Call

The threat landscape continues to evolve, and account takeover fraud, where hackers use stolen credentials to gain access to financial accounts, is a growing issue for fintech. Fortunately, two-factor authentication (or 2FA) can help prevent this cyber attack.

2FA requires something a user knows (like a password) and something they have, such as their mobile phone or an authenticator app. It sends a unique verification code to the device used for logging in, so even if hackers get their hands on an employee’s password, they cannot access their accounts without the 2FA code.

Another benefit of 2FA is that it helps prevent time-based attacks, a common way to steal sensitive information. These attacks rely on many users logging into their accounts within predictable time ranges. These attacks can be blocked by requiring an extra authentication factor, like a phone number or email address.

As more people work remotely during the pandemic, it’s also becoming increasingly important for businesses to have secure remote access. By implementing 2FA, companies can be sure that only authorized employees can access their accounts and information outside the office. This can help to prevent the theft of company data, as well as protect the privacy of employees.

Password Manager

Password managers store passwords safely and provide various additional features for users to take advantage of. For example, they may monitor dark websites to detect stolen credentials and notify users if their accounts appear on these sites. These services can be especially useful in banking, healthcare and government industries, where hackers are more likely to steal confidential data.

These tools often use strong end-to-end encryption that prevents even the company behind the password manager from seeing your private information. However, since they store all your passwords on their servers, this can be a problem if the company gets hacked.

Fortunately, most password managers employ multiple types of MFA to protect their user’s security. This includes combining “something you know” (password) with “something you have” (SMS code) or “something you are” (fingerprint, retinal scan or voice recognition). Inherence factors, which utilize unique physical attributes inherent to a person, such as fingerprints and facial recognition, are another popular type of MFA authentication.

2FA can significantly reduce the likelihood of account takeover attacks, one of today’s most common and devastating cybercrime trends. Fraudsters have a lot to gain from stolen credentials, as they can use them to access your financial accounts and transfer money without your knowledge.

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