Two factor authentication is an important security technique you should implement whenever possible. While there are many ways to do this, the gist of it means you need to authenticate your identity by using a physical device of some type. This makes it much harder for someone to hack into your email or bank account because they do not have the physical device they need–even if they know your password!
Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple way to do it universally. Your bank may have one way to do it, Facebook may have another. For instance, your bank might use a keychain fob that generates a random code every thirty seconds. You’ll need that code when logging in. But you may not be able to use that same fob for a different bank across the street. Each company will have their own method in place to use two factor authentication.
Below are a couple of ways you can begin using two factor authentication today.
Use Two Factor Authentication With Google
Google, among other large sites like Apple and Facebook, allows users to take advantage of two factor authentication. Here’s how it works:
Rather than using a random code every time you login to Google, Google has you authenticate each computer you use to access your account. You only need to do this once per computer. The most convenient way is for Google to send you a text message each time you access your account from an unknown computer or portable device. Input the code and you never have to do it again.
A bad guy would need both your phone AND your password when trying to access your Google account. Read more at Google.
Facebook Two Factor Authentication
Facebook calls their version of two factor authentication “Login Approvals.” It works the same way as Google. When you enable it, you will need to type in a code from each new device you try and access your account from. Again, you only need to do this one time. To enable this in Facebook, go to the Security section of the account settings page.
In the Login Approvals section, click Edit to enable. Next, click Get Started and then follow the on screen prompts to complete the process.
Use Two Factor Authentication Everywhere
In a nutshell two factor authentication is something you know (your password) and something you have (a phone with a code). It is very simple to implement and adds another layer of security to your life. In this article we looked at Google and Facebook–two large companies many of us use on a daily basis. Take five minutes to implement two factor authentication and rest assured you’ve made it much more difficult for your account to get hacked.
So research all of the large institutions you use and see if they have some form of two factor authentication you can use to protect your vital accounts. Many companies use apps that you can download onto your smartphone, such as the VeriSign VIP Access app that generates a random code every thirty seconds. Find out, implement, and be secure.