HomeTechnologyWhat is two-factor authentication and should I enable it?

What is two-factor authentication and should I enable it?


Have you ever disconnected from your Facebook account or another social network? Are you worried about someone hacking into any of your most used websites, especially if you store payment information there?

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Two-factor authentication is the best protection against any of them, and more. I’ll explain what it is and why you should enable it whenever possible.

What is two-factor authentication?

Sometimes called 2-factor authentication, or 2FA, two-factor authentication uses at least one backup method as protection when you sign in somewhere. Often, you only need a username or email address and password to sign in to the websites and apps where you store all kinds of personal information. 2FA adds a step that hopefully makes it harder for hackers to get that information.

Your Amazon account can have multiple credit cards on file for you and everyone in your family. If someone can access that account with just your email and a common password, they will have access not only to your personal information, but also to your money.

Two-factor authentication has become a standard workplace security setup as offices want to provide additional protection on company-owned devices, especially outside of the workplace as remote jobs continue to grow in popularity. Now, you can also set up two-factor authentication on all your popular social networking websites and other commonly used sites like major banks.

How does two-factor authentication work?

Once you’ve signed in to the website you want to set up 2FA on, you can choose a backup method where you’ll need to approve any login.

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For example, imagine your Amazon account. If you don’t want anyone on a new device to be able to log into your Amazon account using just your email and password, you’ll want to set up two-factor authentication. Then, you’ll choose a backup method, such as receiving a text message with a code every time someone tries to log in from a new device.

How to set up two-step verification on Amazon.

How to set up two-step verification on Amazon.
(Kurt Knutsson for Fox News)

Why should I enable two-factor authentication?

While it may seem annoying to go through a few extra steps to log into any of your primary accounts, it’s worth protecting your information from anyone else. Two-factor authentication means you have to approve a login on one of your approved devices or through a method like text messaging, making it much harder for hackers to log into any of your accounts.

Two-factor authentication often means receiving a text like this on your phone.

Two-factor authentication often means receiving a text like this on your phone.
(Kurt Knutsson for Fox News)

It can take less than a few minutes to set up two-factor authentication on each of these accounts, like your Facebook account. Search “Facebook Privacy” to see my step-by-step guide to reigning in your privacy on CyberGuy.com.

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You must set up 2FA on any account where you have financial information saved. This includes your bank, shopping apps, as well as any social media apps. You can search for “email privacy” to learn how to set up two-factor authentication. Simply type in the web address field “CyberGuy.com” to get started.

What are the risks of two-factor authentication?

Some common scams take advantage of how accustomed we are to 2FA. Scammers have been known to trick you into providing codes you receive via text message or phone app. Be sure to only use the codes you receive for the websites you are entering, and never share a code you receive with anyone, especially someone over the phone.

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