Cybersecurity Hub

Multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) and its cousin, two step-verification are security options offered by account providers like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. It requires you to have more than just your password to login into your account. You need something that you know and something that you have. Your password is usually the something that you know. Your phone or an authentication key is the something that you have.
When logging into a new device you enter your password as usual. Once the password has been successfully entered, you are asked for an additional authentication factor. If you are using your phone, you can be asked for an authentication code or to respond to a prompt. If you are using an authentication key, you can be asked for an authentication code, to press the key or to connect the key to the device.  It depends on the account provider, but typically the additional factor is only required if you are logging onto a new device. Usually, it is not needed to login to your account from devices you use every day.

There are two reasons to enable multifactor authentication. First, if someone gets a hold of your password, your account will still be secure. Second if you receive an unexpected authorization code or prompt, you know immediately that your password has been compromised and must be changed.

All account providers give you a backup option for logging in. It may be using a different phone or printing off backup codes. You will be asked which backup option you want to use when you first enable MFA. It is strongly recommended that you take the time to set one up. If you lose your phone or authentication key, it breaks, is stolen or you forget it you can use the backup option to get into your account. Remember you usually only need the additional factor to login to your account on new devices so this really isn't an issue most of the time.
Yes. Many account providers offer the option of using an authentication key, land line or codes that you print off as your additional factors. Check the login settings on the account to see what options are available.
Each account provider has their own procedure for enabling MFA. Check their security settings to find out. However if you want to turn on MFA on your Mount Royal email account, check out the quick reference guide.