How to use authentication to improve your online security

You might have heard the term ‘multi-factor authentication’, ‘two-step verification’ or ‘two-factor authentication’ thrown around and if you’re someone who uses internet banking you might have already encountered it. But what is multi-factor authentication (MFA) and why is it important?

As the online world continues to grow, more business is conducted online than ever before, and more of our personal information is stored on websites all over the globe. Our personal information is in email accounts, internet shopping sites, online banking sites and many more places, which makes our online accounts lucrative targets for some of the world’s more unsavoury characters.

It used to be enough to protect your account with a password, something you could remember reliably and that was known only to you. But with improvements in technology and the creativity of cyber criminals, it’s becoming easier for your passwords to fall into somebody else’s hands without your knowledge.

One way to help make your life online more secure is to use MFA where possible. It’s an option available for most banks, some email providers (such as Gmail), online payment services (like PayPal) and Australia Post services such as Digital iD™.

MFA makes it harder for others to gain access to your accounts by adding a second layer of security to your accounts. Instead of just requiring your password, with MFA you’ll need to provide another piece of information known only to you. This could be a six digit PIN that is texted to your mobile when you login to a website, a randomly generated PIN from a key fob or phone App, or even your fingerprint.

It’s the equivalent to needing two keys to open a door. For example, someone might have your password, but without access to your mobile phone or fingerprint they’ll have greater difficulty accessing your account.

If the safety and security of your life online is important to you, we recommend you turn on MFA where available. While no security system is 100 per cent fail-safe, the extra layer of security MFA provides delivers added peace of mind.

For a list of some websites that offer MFA, check out