Two Factor- Do you need it?


Recently, I was helping someone set up a new iPhone. During the setup process, it asked if we wanted to enable “Two-Factor Authentication”? The person I was helping looked confused and asked me if it was necessary to enable it? I thought this would be a great topic to cover this week.

Here’s how Two-Factor Authentication works: When you log into a website you will still need to log in using your username and password. After doing that, you will then be asked to verify yourself using another “factor”.  This can be one of three things: Something you know (pin number, answer to a security question and so on), Something you have (another device or credit card), or Something you are (a fingerprint or face recognition).  After completing your second factor you will then have access to your account.  No security is perfect but enabling Two Factor makes it harder to hack into your accounts.

Most major companies support this new type of authentication. Apple, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Amazon all support this type of security. Once you log into your account, you can go to the security settings and enable it.

Companies such as Google and Yahoo also have authentication apps. Basically, you verify yourself ahead of time via a pin or a QR code. It takes a little extra work to set these up, but once you do, verifying your second factor happens fast!  When you try logging into your account, the app will pop up a notification and all you need to do is tap it, and you’re in. These apps also bypass your cell phone carrier and don’t need cell service to work.

The biggest complaint people have is it takes longer to log into your account.  Yes, adding an extra step will add a little time to the process. But you are making it tougher for hackers to access your personal information, so can you really complain?

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