Authentication is a process for verifying a user’s access to particular content. It employs the use of usernames, passwords, fingerprints, and/or SMS/auth codes to prove the user exists and has the permission to access the account they’re on.
The Long Explanation
Account owners on a website, platform or private space are typically identified by their usernames. These unique names are tied to only one user, and used to hold all of the information regarding that user.
To prevent just anyone who knows the username from gaining access to the account, systems of authentication are put in place. A standard system of authentication today involves the combination of the user ID or username and a password which has been created for that specific username.
Most computer users are familiar with passwords, as user ID and password combinations are a regular form of human-to-machine authentication. Passwords are string combinations of both alphanumeric characters and special characters, that should be known only by the user.
As the number of bad actors in the digital space continues to grow, different platforms have sought to make their authentication process more strenuous. One of the most important moves in this regard has been the adoption of two-factor authentication or 2FA.
The two-factor authentication system is an authentication protocol that uses at least two “factors”. This often includes a regular password known only by the user, as well as a randomly generated code sent to a secure location (such as your email or phone number).
2FA is particularly important in sensitive platforms such as websites/platforms used for storing, receiving or sending crypto assets. This is necessary to ensure your assets are not stolen, as stolen crypto assets can be difficult to trace or retrieve.