Two-factor authentication can be very useful for securing your WordPress website. When first installed, WordPress uses a single-factor authentication mechanism. This single layer of protection is known as your account password. However, having two-factor authentication can decrease the chances of hackers or malicious software compromising your website.
In this article, we will explore the importance of two-factor authentication and how you can integrate this extra security measure into your website.
What is Two-Factor Authentication?
Two-factor authentication is a security mechanism that requires two different methods of verification in order to establish someone’s identity. The first method of verification is usually your website username and password, and the second method can be a one-time code received via email, SMS, or through an application.
By enabling two-factor authentication on your website, you add an extra layer of protection to your WordPress administrative pages which will minimize security breaches.
Why is Two-Factor Authentication Important?
Up to 81% of company data breaches are directly related to the use of weak passwords. This is usually caused by using duplicated passwords on multiple accounts, or by using passwords that are simply not complex or long enough. The correct storage of passwords is also very important and can help you to create unique passwords for every account without having to memorize all of them.
By making use of a password manager, you have access to a secure environment for all your sensitive account information. Password managers are also especially useful if you have multiple websites that you need to keep track of.
How to Enable Two-Factor Authentication
There is more than one way to enable two-factor authentication on your website, but not all methods will provide you with equal security as some are more secure than others. Furthermore, you should also choose a method of securing your website that will make the most sense for your company.
SMS and Email
When choosing SMS as your two-factor authentication method, you will receive a code via a text message to a mobile device of your choice. Although this method may sound like the most convenient choice, it is actually the least secure way to enable two-factor authentication.
This is because hackers can easily intercept text messages through the use of a sim swap scam. This can enable someone to change the device that your number belongs to. Furthermore, losing your phone is an unfortunate but common occurrence thanks to its small size. If this happens, you can inadvertently end up giving strangers access to sensitive account information.
You should also take into account the extra charges that SMS network providers can charge per SMS and the overall availability of these services. For instance, if you are handing over the website maintenance to someone else in your team, they will need to receive those SMSs or emails in order to login to the website.
When choosing the mobile application option when it comes to two-factor authentication, you will receive one-time password codes delivered straight to your mobile app of choice.
After you sync your mobile application with your website, an algorithm will verify matching timezones on both the website and your app. If the time matches, you will be able to request security codes that will only be viable for a certain amount of time.
The most popular app currently available on the market is Google Authenticator. By scanning a QR code or by entering a code on the app that was provided by the corresponding plugin, you can set up this authenticator app in no time. A one-time code will then be automatically generated every time you access your application, which can then be used to access your website.
You may find yourself in a position where you have no access to your email account, phone or any smartphone applications. This is where offline backup codes can come quite in handy when wanting to log in to your website.
Some WordPress plugins allow you to generate offline codes that can be printed out and stored away until you need to make use of them. However, not all security plugins support the generation of offline codes. Those that do will be able to keep generating sets of code that can come in handy during network failures or in remote destinations with limited network access.
Customers or subscribers that have opened up an account on your website may feel more at ease if they have access to two-factor authentication added to their own personal accounts.
A lot of the times, customers are required to provide sensitive information that they want to keep under wraps. By allowing each account holder to take control of their own security, you can provide them with peace of mind which will also benefit your company’s image.
Website security is an important factor that can secure the success or cause the downfall of your online business. By enabling two-factor authentication for website administrators and also customers, you can decrease the chances of falling victim to a security breach.