Just about any account you own on the internet can be hacked. Do you have a clear understanding of what Two Factor Authentication (2FA) is? Two Factor Authentication is a secondary security measure that provides an access code along with your username and password.
Maybe you don’t even realize that you often use 2FA. For example taking money out of the MAC machine. You swipe your debit card and then have to enter your PIN code or the bank teller requests your drivers license or photo ID to cash a check?
Basically 2FA requires two ways of proving your identity and can be used to protect various online accounts.
How Does Two Factor Authentication Work
Usually you enter your username and password and then an SMS message arrives on your phone providing you with the code. Each time you login into that account, a new code will be sent to your phone and you will enter this code to access your account. This code can only be used one time.
You can also use a dedicated authentication app. One of the most popular is Google Authenticator. I much prefer the SMS way of doing it.
Will My Accounts More Secure
Nothing is fool proof but using 2FA makes it harder to get into your account. Your accounts are more difficult to attack and less attractive to the attackers.
Think of it in terms of home security. If you have a home security system, you lower the odds of burglary. A large dog can also do the trick. If you combine the two your house becomes a much less attractive target. Most burglars will move on to an easier target.
Is Two Factor Authentication A Hassle
It does require an extra step, you’ll need your password and then wait for a code to arrive on your phone and then enter that code.
I use 2FA on most of my accounts and find that as I’ve used it combined with a strong password I feel my accounts are more secure.
How To Enable Two Factor Authentication
Many sites and services offer Two Factor Authentication and may call it by other names. Below you’ll find some of the more popular online accounts and how to set up 2FA.
From an iOS device, go to Settings > iCloud, sign in if you aren’t already and then tap on your Apple ID. From your Apple ID page, tap Password & Security and then tap Turn On Two-Factor Authentication. On a Mac, you can enable it by going to System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details > Security and clicking Turn On Two-Factor Authentication. Then follow the prompts!
Click the triangle button at top right, go to Settings > Security and then click Edit to the right of Login Approvals. Next, click Enable next to where it says that Two-Factor Authentication is currently disabled.
From the app, head to your profile page and tap the gear icon in the top-right to open the Options panel. Tap Two-Factor Authentication and then tap to toggle on Require Security Code. Instagram will then send you a six-digit code that you’ll need to enter to enable the feature. (If your account doesn’t have a confirmed phone number, then you’ll be asked to enter your number.) Instagram will also send you five backup codes to screenshot.
Go to LinkedIn’s Security Settings page and click Add a phone number if you haven’t already done so for your account. With your phone number added, click Turn on next to where it says Two-step verification is turned off, enter your account password and then enter the verification code that LinkedIn sent to your phone.
In your Yahoo Account, head to Account security and toggle on Two-step Verification. If you have Yahoo’s Account Key enabled, you’ll need to disable it. Account Key looks and smells like two-factor authentication but it is really only one-factor; it lets you skip the first factor of entering your password and only enter a code sent to your phone. Yahoo’s two-step verification is the more secure option of the two. You can also create app specific passwords for any apps that don’t support 2FZ and use your Yahoo account.
If you use other websites and services, check out this comprehensive site Two-Factor Auth for lists, services and apps which support 2FA and those that do not. Categories include banking, cloud computing, communication, email, health, social and many more.
I highly recommend that you utilize two-factor authentication on websites (especially your financial accounts) when it’s available. The time and effort that it takes to prove your identity again are worth the added protection from hackers.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them in the comments section.
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