Two-factor authentication, 2FA, two step verification, multi factor authentication and login approvals – two-factor authentication has a few names, but no matter what it’s called, it’s important you use it as it’s an extra layer of protection for your online accounts. Find out what it is, how it works and why it’s important.

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security for your online accounts. It’s an extra step on top of your password that makes it harder for others to access your accounts. For example, if someone else tries to log in to your account using your password, they’ll also need another piece of information to access it.

Often you’ll have the choice of what this information is. For example, you may be able to have a code sent via text/SMS to your mobile phone. You can also use two-factor authentication on online payments, like online banking, to make sure it’s you making payments.

Why do you need it?

If someone gains access to your accounts, they could have access to your private information – like your emails, phone number, address, photos, videos, payment details, and details of your friends and family.

By using a strong password, it’s more difficult for someone to be able to get into your accounts, but it could happen.

If you’re using a strong password as well as two-factor authentication, it makes it much harder. This is because the person would also need access to something else, like your mobile phone or a code.

Getting started

You should set up two-factor authentication on any account you can, including email, social media, online banking and online shopping sites. You can also set it up on your devices, such as smart phone or laptops.

More information on two-factor authentication:

Contact Netsafe

Our helpline is open seven days a week. Need help or advice? Contact us.

  • Email help@netsafe.org.nz
  • Call us toll free on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723)
  • Online report form