Online security is nothing to joke about, especially when you wake up one morning to find that the WordPress website you’ve spent so much of your time on has been compromised. So, let’s talk about digital protection and what you can achieve with Two-Factor Authentication.

There are multiple ways breaches can happen, and often you won’t know it has until some damage has already been done. Passwords can be hacked, intercepted, guessed, and once your login information has been found out, there’s nothing to stop whoever holds it from running rampant with your website.

The solution? Defend against unwanted access to your website with the added protection of a two-factor authentication plugin.

What is Two-Factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication (or 2FA for short) brings an additional layer of security to your login process.

Other than a username and password, with two-factor authentication logging in to your site will also require a piece of information that is provided exclusively to you, such as a single-use code that’s sent directly to your email, or your phone via text message.

This form of authentication helps ensure your identity by exclusively offering login information to personal devices and accounts which have been registered to your 2FA system, and prevents others from accessing your website even if they have your basic login information available to them.

Two factor authentication works by employing two different methods of identity checking

Two factor authentication works by employing two different methods of identity checking

Benefits of Two-Factor Authentication

Aside from the obvious benefit of improved sign-in security, there are other pros to utilizing 2FA which should be considered as well.

Share and Protect Sensitive Information

Two-factor authentication provides safer data sharing capabilities for businesses and websites that have multiple people working within them across long distances. By allowing different users to sign into a shared system through their respective 2FA logins, employees can remotely and safely access sensitive company systems so that work can be completed securely by everyone involved no matter where they are located.

Cost Effective Security Solution

When it comes to protecting company software and secrets, two-factor authentication has been rapidly growing in popularity across online operations for its relatively low cost compared to other security alternatives—like keeping data contained to a physical location.

Single Sign On and 2FA

Single sign-on (SSO) gives users the ability input one username and one password across multiple different WordPress websites.

This means after performing your one initial login, you’ll have access to as many of your unique accounts on multiple websites as you desire without having to go through the trouble of logging into them one at a time.

Generally with single sign-on there will be an adjustable time-out period that, once it expires, will require a user to re-log before being able to access their accounts.

The downside with only using SSO, however, is that it reduces your online security and increases the damage that can be done by anyone who successfully finds your login information. Without being coupled with two-factor authentication, If your password and username are found out, then every account linked to your single sign-on will be compromised all at the same time.

Google Authenticator 2FA Solution

A setup screen for the Google Authenticator Mobile Application

A setup screen for the Google Authenticator Mobile Application

To improve the convenience of 2FA services, google created an authenticator app for smartphones that functions with third party software. It can be downloaded for both Android mobile phones, and iPhones.

It works by having users conduct a setup process between their website and the Google Authenticator application on their phone, where the website will provide a shared key that is then linked together with the app.

Afterward, whenever a user tries to login to their website, they must provide their username and password as they normally would, and then also run the Google Authenticator app on their phone. The app will generate and display a single-use code which it secretly shares with the connected website.

Once this connection is established, the user will be prompted to enter a code generated by Google Authenticator whenever entering their website to successfully prove their identity.

WordPress Two-Factor Authentication Plugins

WordPress has an incredible number of plugins available for users to improve their website with, and many of them are devoted to incorporating two-factor authentication solutions into your login process. But as with all WordPress plugins, the marketplace for 2FA solutions is always changing.

For example:

One of the most popular two-factor authentication solutions for WordPress in recent years was provided by the software developer Clef; who had over 1 million WordPress websites utilizing their 2FA plugin. Their solution was made famous due to a fast sign-in process that worked together with Clef’s mobile phone app, and eliminated the need for users to enter a password to enter their website. Instead, with the Clef two-factor authentication app, users could prove their identity and enter their website by simply holding their phone’s camera to their website’s login screen.

Unfortunately, Clef shutdown their service on July 2017, meaning over a million WordPress website owners have been left to find replacements for their two-factor authentication plugin.

While Clef did provide a strong 2FA solution that many users enjoyed, their shutdown acts as a reminder that the vast quantity of WordPress plugins being developed means that many available on the market are falling out of date, are poorly supported, or are simply made ineffectively. Because of this, it’s important to find a modern 2FA solution that can appropriately, and reliably, meet the needs of your website.

Making your website safer will ensure users are comfortable using your services

Making your website safer will ensure users are comfortable using your services

Secure Login and Two-Factor Authentication Solution for WordPress

This specific plugin was recently developed by CreativeMinds, and is recommended for its professional quality, available support, and broad range of useful features.

As with any top-tier login plugin, the Secure Login and Two-Factor Authentication Solution for WordPress offers customizable options to best personalize your website’s login experience.

You can choose between one of four different verification methods:

A chart explaining the four methods of the CreativeMinds Two-Factor Authentication solution

The plugin also gives you further control over your 2FA solution with:

Ability to Create Custom Messages in your User’s SMS texts and Email Notifications

Create your own personalized messages for everyone using your two-factor authentication system.

Control Over which Users Need to use 2FA for Login

If you have multiple users working on your site, you can limit the two-factor authentication requirements to those who have access to your website’s critical functions, while allowing easy login for less involved users.

Customize the Duration of Login Code Use Validity

To ensure that your login codes don’t eventually fall into the wrong hands, you can set shorter or longer time-out limits for each code generated.

Capability to Remove Password Requirement

Want to reduce the login process? You can easily cut down the login requirements so that users only need to provide their username, and authentication code to gain access to your website.

Set Custom Inactivity Logout Times

Worried about your users creating security breaches by leaving their computers open with your website already accessed? You can set an inactivity timer which automatically logs users out after a set amount of time defined by you.

Conclusion

Strong security is imperative for serious WordPress website owners who want to defend their hard work from malicious users, and unfortunately there are plenty of people out there who would relish the chance to attack your website.

Because of this, two-factor authentication is becoming more and more important when it comes to web security, and you don’t want to find yourself wishing you had taken preventative measures after it’s already too late.

With WordPress plugin developers making the implementation of two-factor authentication easier than ever, there’s no excuse to leave yourself vulnerable to attack.