Two-factor authorization is here and it’s pretty sweet. Are you using it? Do you know what it is? It can be a little confusing at first, but it’s not that hard.
What is two-factor authorization?
It’s basically a second, unique, password that is required before you can log into a site. It works to keep your Twitter, Facebook, Gmail and most other services secure.
If you simplify it down, here’s how it works.
- Enter your username and password to log into a site just as you do today.
- The site sends you a code via text message or app.
- You enter the code and continue life as normal.
That’s about it.
Do I need the code every time?
That depends on the site, but most do not. I have Gmail, Twitter & Facebook setup with two-factor authorization and they don’t ask me for my code more than once. It cold be once per computer, or browser, or 30 days. Other sites require a unique code every time I log in. It’s really up to the site.
Why is it better?
It’s better because if someone were to figure out your username and password, they’d also have to have your phone to receive the secret code. The secret code is also specific per site, per computer, per app, and expires in about 30 seconds.
How do I setup two-factor authorization?
Visit twofactorauth.org and they’ll let you know what services support two-factor authorization and give you a link to get it setup.
Is two-factor authorization new?
No, it’s not new. Companies have been doing it for years with key fobs they give to their employees. You usually see this in financial institutions or companies with sensitive data. The difference now is that we all have smartphones that allow an app to be our key fob. Suddenly everyone has one.
So what are you waiting for?
I was one that dragged my feet for a while because I didn’t know how it worked, but now that I’m up and running, I wonder why I waited so long. If you’re unsure, start with one site and see how it goes. Then add more.
The number of sites getting hacked is unreal and hackers aren’t stopping. If anything, they’re getting better. Setting up two-factor authorization can help keep your accounts safe.