April 7, 2021

What are some use-cases for three factor authentication (and above)?

I was curious as to how many (and which) services support multifactor authentication beyond 2FA.

Googling, I found references to:

* Three factor authentication. The TechTarget piece I read suggests that the third factor is commonly a biometric.
* Four factor authentication.
* Up to six factor authentication.

To clarify my questions a little:

* What kind of services are four-factor authentication and above used to protect?
* Are there any common consumer products that rely on such elaborate protective measures?
* I assume the answer is obviously ‘no’, but is there theoretical limit as to how many cumulative layers of authentication a provider could enforce to protect a login / access?



Does 6 factor really exist? I’ll admit I’m pretty green when it comes to this stuff, but I thought there were only 4 types of factors:

Something you know (password, pin)

Something you have (token, authenticator app)

Something you are (biometrics)

Something you do (pattern, typing cadance)

What could the other 2 be?


Asking because — using mostly consumer sites — I don’t think I’ve accessed a site that offered the option to configure even three factor authentication “in the wild.” I’m curious as to how common such protection is actually used.


My mother

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