What is Two-Factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication is an important security measure that adds a second layer of protection to your account, app or service to go alongside your regular method of logging in. Adding this additional security layer makes it much harder for hackers to break into your accounts and apps. Learn how two-factor authentication works and how to implement it to improve your digital security.

How does Two-Factor Authentication make your account more secure?

When you sign into any of your online accounts, the basic level of authentication needs only your password to log in — that’s one step to verify your identity. Two-factor authentication adds a second layer that you need to provide before you can get access to your account.
When someone tries to log into your account from a new device with your password, when they hit “enter” or “submit”, it’ll take them to a new screen asking for a code.

How Two-Factor Authentication works?

As mentioned, 2-factor authentication works by verifying the second layer of information in addition to your password. The type of info used for the second layer of verification depends on the online service you are using. For example, to use Two-factor authentication on your Gmail account, you have a few choices:

A physical security key: This works like a lock, serves as a backup to your password for verifying your identity.

The Google Authenticator app: This app offers access to a time-sensitive code that changes after a given period of time and so is always secure but gives you quick and easy access to your account. Install the authenticator app on your phone, and then when you sign in to your email you get a prompt on your phone that you tap to verify it is really you trying to sign in.

Verification code: This option sends you a one-time numeric code on your device either by SMS or voice call, to verify your identity.

So, here is how Two-factor authentication works when you want to access your account. The online service sends an automated request for your second layer of info — an SMS with a verification code, a Google authenticator prompt, or something else that you have set. Once you verified it, you get access to your online account.

Is it worth it?

Yes. Absolutely. Once Two-factor authentication is set up it adds one extra step to logging into your account from a new device or browser. It is always worth doing and not doing so can often lead you open to privacy nightmares.

On the off-chance that someone has got your password, and tries to get into your account, you will have peace of mind knowing that they can’t get in without being verified.

To add additional privacy, there are settings within Android and iOS to make sure that you can stop SMS notifications from showing up on a lock screen. Just head to Settings > Notifications and select which apps you want to have display information on the lock screen, or choose to hide sensitive information (on Android).

How to enable Apple two-step verification

  • For your Apple ID or iCloud account
    • Go to appleid.apple.com
    • Log into your account-go to the Security section and look for the two-step verification
    • and turn it on.
  • For your Gmail/Google account-
    • Log in to Google.com and click on your profile picture in the top right corner, then “My Account”.
    • Click the “signing in to Google” option under the Sign-in and security tab then look for the 2-Step Verification option and activate it.

You can add your phone number to get a Google Prompt on your phone, or you can set up some backup codes, or install the Authenticator app on your Phone.

  • In Facebook on the desktop site-
    • Click the little globe icon in the toolbar
    • Go to Settings > Security and login, then choosing the “Use two-factor authentication”.

You can add your mobile number to get text message codes or generate codes in the Facebook mobile app.

Reliable Computers will help protect your private data with privacy risk monitoring, including 24/7 monitoring. If your personal information is ever exposed, we will let you know immediately, and help you take appropriate action. Contact us today to know more.

Managed
IT Services

Further Reading

What is Two-Factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication is an important security measure that adds a second layer of protection to your account, app…

Why Do I Need Antivirus Software?

Have you ever lost your very important documents or files from your computer due to viruses and corrupted…

Phishing Attacks and how to protect against them

What is a Phishing Attack? Phishing is a type of scam. Scammers attempt to steal your confidential data/information…

Why Data Backup is important?

Have you ever lost your important data? Or, have you ever felt that moment of panic where you…