Set Up Two-Factor Authentication Now, Here’s How
The most straightforward way to improve your digital security is to enable two-factor authentication for your most important accounts. Here’s what that means, what’s important, and how to do it.
What Is Two-Factor Authentication?
Two-factor authentication means that there’s more than one element that proves your identity. A good example of this is chip and PIN technology you see in point-of-sale systems. You can’t charge an account on such a system without both a chip and a PIN. If a thief takes your card, they still can’t use it because they don’t have your PIN. If a hacker were to somehow learn your PIN, they still can’t use it without the chip.
In online spaces, most accounts have until now relied on one-factor authentication, with that one factor usually being a password. Most have now adopted two-factor authentication, with the second factor being your phone number. The idea is after you provide your password, they text you a code, which you then input to gain access to your account. After all, it isn’t easy but is possible for someone to gain access to your password. It’s considerably harder to gain access to your passwords and cell phone at the same time.
How Do I Enable Two-Factor Authentication?
Here’s how to enable two-factor authentication in some of the largest digital services.
On Gmail, go to Google Account Settings, then Security, then in the window labelled Signing-In to Google, turn Two-Step Verification on.
On iOS, go to Settings, then Password & Security, then tap on Two-Factor Authentication to turn it on.
On Instagram, go to Settings, then Security, and then you can turn on two-factor authentication.
On Facebook, choose the down arrow on the upper right of the screen, then select Settings, then Security and Login. From here you can scroll down to the Two-Factor Authentication window.
On Twitter, go to Settings and Privacy, then Account, then Security. From here, you can set up two-factor authentication.
On Amazon, click on Accounts & Lists. From there, go to Your Account, then Login & Security. At the top of the page there will be a window labelled Two-Step Verification Settings. You may have to re-enter your password at this stage.
These are just some of the big digital services supporting two-factor authentication. Obviously, there are hundreds out there. To find specific instructions for a service, check out the site TwoFactorAuth.org. Here you can find instructions for literally hundreds of digital services.
The Big Takeaway
On important sites and services, such as your social media, email, and banking, it’s a good idea to enable two-factor authentication. If a digital account controls access to other digital accounts, contains personal information, has digital goods associated with it, or is connected to your finances, an extra layer of security is invaluable. After all, typing in an extra code is just a few extra seconds of your day. Isn’t that worth it for peace of mind?