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TWO-FACTOR authentication (2FA) has become an essential tool for protecting our accounts from hacking. This feature adds an additional layer of security by requesting a second verification code when logging in, in addition to the username and password.

But what if you receive a 2FA code without requesting it?

What to do if you receive a two-factor authentication code in a message without asking for it?
What to do if you receive a two-factor authentication code in a message without asking for it?

How do you distinguish between real and fake two-factor authentication messages?

This may be a sign of an attempt to hack into your account. In recent years, we have increasingly used the two-factor authentication (2FA) feature when logging into many sensitive services and applications such as banking services, to enhance the security of our accounts. With the evolution of electronic attacks, a strong password alone is no longer sufficient to secure our accounts.
  • The importance of two-factor authentication lies in adding an additional verification step to the login process, where in addition to entering the username and password, you need to enter another verification code.
  • This code is usually sent via a short message service (SMS) to your phone, or generated using an authentication app, or a security key. This additional step makes it difficult for intruders to hack into your accounts.
If you encounter a situation where you receive a two-factor authentication code without attempting to log into your account, what should you do?

The reason for receiving a two-factor authentication code without requesting it 

Receiving a two-factor authentication code without asking for it is worrying, and may indicate an attempt to hack your account. There are two main reasons why this could happen:
1.Real hack attempt:
  • In this case, the hackers have obtained your password and are trying to use it to access your account.
  • You may receive a legitimate message from the service they're trying to access, asking you to enter a two-factor authentication code.
2. Preparing for penetration:
  • In this case, the hackers try to trick you into revealing your password.
  • They may send you a fake message similar to the original two-factor authentication message, with the aim of tricking you into entering the code, and then hacking your account.

Steps to deal with an unwanted two-factor authentication code 

Receiving a two-factor authentication code without requesting it is a potential warning sign of an attempted account breach. What should you do if you receive an unrequested 2FA code?

The first crucial step upon receiving an unrequested 2FA code is to refrain from clicking the confirmation button in the message if it requires confirmation. After that, do not log in to any account, and do not share the received codes with anyone. If the message contains links, do not click on them. What should you do next?

Do not confirm login:

  • Don't click the Yes or Confirm button on any message you receive, even if it looks official.
  • Don't enter the authentication code anywhere.
  • Don't log into any accounts even if you think they're secure.
These are the basic steps to follow, and as long as you haven't confirmed the login, your account is secure. However, it may be prudent to change your password in case of a potential password breach. 

Manually visit the relevant service through its web address, rather than clicking on any link, enter the password, and obtain a new authentication code and enter it. Then, look for password settings and set a new strong password.

Change your password immediately:

  • Go to the website of the service in question manually, not through any link in the message.
  • Enter your current password.
  • Get and enter a new authentication code.
  • Change your password to a new one that is strong and unique.
If you use the same password for other accounts, it would be a good idea to also change the password for those accounts, but make sure to create a unique password for each account.

Make sure all your accounts are secure:

  • If you use the same password in other accounts, change it immediately.
  • Use unique passwords for each account.
  • Use two-factor authentication on all your important accounts.

How to deal with receiving a code for 2FA two-factor authentication in a message without requesting it: necessary steps

Hackers may try to deceive you into confirming a login attempt by sending numerous two-factor authentication (2FA) codes. If you receive multiple 2FA codes, you should:
  1. First, remain calm and avoid taking any hasty actions. Attackers may inundate you with codes in an attempt to coerce you into confirming the login, but you must stay vigilant and refrain from clicking on any links or confirmation buttons.
  2. The best course of action is to manually navigate to the service's website or app by entering its web address in the address bar, rather than clicking on a link. Once on the service's site, promptly change your password. You may need to generate a new 2FA code and enter it to complete the password change process.
  3. Some 2FA requests include a simple form with options like "Yes" or "No," or a separate button allowing you to respond with "No, this isn't me." For example, when receiving warnings about login attempts on our Google accounts, pressing this button typically automatically blocks attackers' automated systems, preventing the receipt of new 2FA requests.
If there isn't a dedicated button in the authentication request message, you can switch your phone settings to silent mode or airplane mode for half an hour or so to mitigate the influx of codes you receive.

Beware: Fraudulent two-factor authentication messages!

  1. It's important not to enter a two-factor authentication code anywhere, even if prompted in a message or email.
  2. Change your password instantly with a trusted device.
  3. Contact customer service for the service from which you receive the two-factor authentication code.
  4. Use an authentication app like Google Authentication and Microsoft Authentication instead of SMS text messages on a phone number to receive two-factor authentication codes.
  5. Be wary of phishing messages.

What to do if you accidentally confirm a stranger's login to your account?

No need to panic! Even if an attacker gains access to your account, you can still regain control. Confirming an unrequested login from an unknown person to your account can be a scary scenario. In such cases, attackers may quickly change account settings and passwords. To protect yourself, you can follow these steps:
  1. Preemptive Defense: Use strong security solutions like Kaspersky Premium that track account breaches and alert you if your personal data is leaked on the dark web. The Kaspersky Password Manager app also provides notifications about compromised passwords and helps you change them.
  2. Add Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) Codes: Enhance the security of your accounts by adding 2FA codes from the Google Authenticator app to the Kaspersky Premium solution.
  3. Secure Document Storage: Encrypt and store important personal documents such as scanned copies of passports in security apps like Kaspersky Premium to protect your privacy.
  4. Access from Anywhere: Enjoy access to your information and accounts from anywhere, anytime using your various devices, allowing you to maintain control and easily access your data.
Implementing these measures ensures the protection of your accounts and personal data from trouble and unwanted leaks.
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