Get Your Two-Step (Verification) On

If you haven't turned on this security feature, you are as good as hacked

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(Image: iStock/Michael Krinke)

Two-step verification—also known as two-factor authentication (2FA)—is an additional layer of protection, beyond your password, that decreases the risk of a hacker accessing your online accounts. It combines your password—something you know—with a second factor, like a cell phone or tablet—something you own. Thankfully, a majority of the world’s most commonly accessed websites have made 2FA readily available.

Although using this feature is highly recommended, it’s up to you to activate it within your online account settings. With the recent breach involving Yahoo, and now McDonald’s, turning on two-factor authentication has never been more important.

TwoFactorAuth.org is a great site to help you get your two-step on. It lists the websites that support 2FA, and the sites that currently do not, in categories such as banking, cloud computing, social, and email, among others. Each category is further broken down, to display what type of two-factor authentication is used.

The site also provides a way to ask webmasters to consider using 2FA, with a clever email or a Twitter or Facebook button labeled “Tell them to support 2FA.” Aside from entering your username and password into your respective site, when enabled, 2FA can deliver a security code to you via SMS texting, a phone call, an email, or with the use of a hardware/ software token. The type of 2FA delivery method is determined by the security direction of business.

Overall, two-factor authentication has many benefits: it’s free, it improves security, and it reduces data theft. Most importantly, 2FA protects your identity, which is priceless. Using the recommended website above will give you a better sense of what sites go the extra mile to help you protect your identity online. So, take advantage, and get your two-step on.

 

This post was written by Doug Bryant, Jr., cybersecurity professional, and it was edited by Samara Lynn.

 

 

 


Doug Bryant Jr

Doug Bryant, Jr. is a cybersecurity professional. In addition to a B.A.Sc (bachelor of applied science, computer systems networking and telecommunications), Bryant holds several top cybersecurity certifications, including CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), CHFI (Certified Hacking Forensic Investigator), SSCP (Systems Security Certified Practitioner), and Security +. Recently, he completed the SANS GCFE exam as a certified computer forensics expert. You can read more of his tips and analysis on cybersecurity on his Cybergent 101 blog.