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Difference between single-factor authentication and multi-factor authentication

Last Updated : 10 Feb, 2023
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1. Single-factor authentication: This authentication process is much simpler and is also considerably faster. With this Authentication process, we don’t have to face any complexity. So the first single authentication system that came out is the combination of the username and the password. The username determines the unique name of the user and the password is something private. This password is the only thing that will stop any unauthorized users to get access to the system.

2. Multi-factor authentication: This is the opposite of single-factor authentication. Here it requires more than one factor for successful authentication. It gives much better security to the users. In multi-factor authentication, if someone tries to access the system, the attacker has to go through a large number of systems. This makes it difficult for the attacker to gain access to the system.

Differences between single-factor and multi-factor authentication systems are as follows:

Single-factor authentication 

Multi-factor authentication 

In single-factor authentication, the process of authentication is much simpler In multi-factor authentication, the process of successful authentication can be complex.
There is a risk to  security. There is no risk of security.
There is a chance of information getting stolen There is no a the chance, for the information to get stolen. 
There is a risk of a keylogger who can steal passwords and more. There is no risk of keylogger activity. 
The user is not in full control.  The user is in full control. 
There is a chance of user password getting captured by the keylogger.  There is no risk of data getting captured through keylogger.
There is a chance of a phishing attack, where the attacker may deceive the user to enter the password or userid.  In multi-factor authentication, a phishing attack will not accomplish its purpose. 

Example of Single-factor authentication-


  1. Password authentication by the online service entered by user.

Example of Multi-factor authentication-


  1. Knowledge- Entered Username and Password
  2. Possession- Entered Pin from mobile app 
  3. Inherence (Biometrics)- Fingerprint verified

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