2FA use grows as consumers look for better protection

A new report from Cisco's Duo Security arm shows that 79 percent of respondents report having used 2FA in 2021, compared to 53 percent in 2019 and just 28 percent in 2017.

Only 32 percent report using 2FA on all applications where available though, so there's still room for improvement.

SMS (85 percent) continues to be the most common second factor that respondents with 2FA experience have used, slightly up from in 2019 (72 percent). Email is the second most common second factor (74 percent), with a notable increase compared to 2019 (57 percent).


When asked to about the importance of their accounts from a security perspective, 93 percent named banking and only 58 percent email. This rather under rates the importance of email as it's often a gateway to many other accounts, meaning that an email account compromise can have worse consequences than that of a financial account.

The report's authors note, "Email is frequently a recovery mechanism for other accounts, and banks often have safeguards to prevent individual financial losses due to unauthorized access. There is an opportunity to increase security via increasing public awareness of the importance of protecting email accounts."

Looking at other verification trends, 32 percent of respondents report using a password manager, and 42 percent biometric authentication for at least some applications. A separate study conducted by Duo finds the top two user privacy concerns about biometric authentication are attackers replicating a biometric (42 percent) and lack of confidence when trusting companies with personal biometric information (36 percent).

You can read more and get the full report on the Duo blog.

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