Hear from Michael Thelander, fraud and authentication expert and author of Multi-factor Authentication for Dummies, about the definition of multifactor authentication (MFA) and the differentiation between MFA and two-factor authentication in this short video.

“What is the difference between two-factor authentication and multifactor authentication?

Two-factor authentication takes a traditional authentication method, like username and password, and layers another piece of authentication on top of that. That might be a one-time passcode that is sent out-of-band through a text message.

Multifactor authentication (MFA) takes a completely different approach - it takes three types of authentication:

  • Knowledge factors, like your passwords.
  • Possession factors, something that you actually have in your hand. It could be a token generator that you have in your possession or even your mobile device.
  • And then inherence factors, those things you inherently are - your thumbprint, your iris scan.

You can use those, then, at any point during your authentication process to identify and verify who you are. The nice thing about multifactor authentication is you can deliver the level of authentication, or the level of assurance, necessary for whatever risk is in the authentication process.”

For more information, check out our blog. Or you can download our MFA for Dummies eBook.