Slow Down a Hacker:
Use Two-factor Authentication Guide
Two-factor authentication (sometimes called two-step verification) is an extra security measure you can place on certain of your accounts. When enabling this feature, you will have to enter a short-lived one-time code (sent to your phone or device) after submitting your username and password.
This process adds an extra layer of security to your account—even if a hacker knows your username and password, they cannot log into your account without the one-time code that is sent to your phone. You need two-factor authentication enabled on your most crucial accounts—email, banking, credit cards—and you should enable it on any account that has the technology and allows access to your personal information, such as social media sites.
The latest trend, hackers have been accessing the emails of businesses. They imitate a customer and request money from the customer’s account. If the business is fooled by the hacker’s efforts, the account is compromised as well as the email.
Two-factor authentication process is designed to prevent the hackers from gaining access to the email account and therefore access to more critical information.
The one-time code can be sent to you in a variety of ways—you choose the delivery method when setting up two-factor authentication for your accounts. Here is a brief overview of each option.
The newest and most secure form of two-factor authentication is receiving codes through an authenticator app such as Google Authenticator. Once you download Google Authenticator and link it your Google account, you can use the app to generate passcodes for other non-Google websites when setting up two-factor authentication on that site.
The authenticator app is considered the most secure because it is the toughest for hackers to access. Authenticator apps can also be used when you do not have cell phone service, which is helpful if you are traveling overseas and still need access to your accounts. It does require a separate app, however, and it can be difficult to re-install on a new device.
A popular and easy way of obtaining your one-time passcodes is via text message. Choosing this option means that after entering your username and password at a
website, it will text you a code that you will enter on the website. This method is easy because it does not require any additional devices or downloads.
Experts, however, do worry about the security of text message two-factor authentication codes. These codes can be intercepted by hackers, allowing them to access the key to your account. In most cases, hackers will probably not spend time doing this currently as there are plenty of unprotected accounts they can get into. Some hackers or individuals may, of course, be targeting certain people. But for most people, text message two-factor authentication is still a good protection method.
The power of two-factor
No matter the method you choose, you need to enable two-factor authentication at least on your most sensitive accounts. Two-factor helps to protect your accounts and can act as an early-warning system. If you receive a code that you did not generate, it may be a sign that someone has your username and password. In that case, you want to change your password immediately.
And in most cases, you do not need to enter a code every time you log into your account. On most websites, you can designate certain devices as “safe” and you will not be required to enter a code when logging in from those devices in most instances.
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