Tip: Start Using Two Factor Authentication

When two factor authentication is available, you may want to take the added few seconds to implement it into your routine.

I know, I know…  You’re probably thinking how inconvenient securing your private data has become.  And you are absolutely correct. It is inconvenient, and quite possibly the single biggest hassle of your day. But remember, a small inconvenience to you, could be the deciding factor of whether your information is hacked or not.  To put it simply; don’t become low hanging fruit.

A lot of companies and services you use today offer two factor authentication. They do this for several reasons, but mostly because they want you, their customer, to continue to use their services. No company wants a multi-billion-user breach in their security. Who would use them if they continued to put your personal data at risk? As a result, you and I get some pretty nice security features, for FREE.

Two factor authentication is a way of double checking your identity. It’s called two factor because it uses two of the three defined primary types of authentication factors.  Commonly, one factor that most everyone is familiar with is the Password or PIN. This factor is “Something you know.”  The next is “Something you have.” This is going to be how most commercial companies will implement a second factor, and usually consists of an app on your phone that will give you a special code for your login. The third is “Something you are.” This is usually biometric, like your fingerprint.  Using any two of these factors and you have two factor authentication.

So how might this work?

You go to login to your Gmail account.
Gmail asks for your User Name and Password. (password being the “What you know” factor)
Next, Gmail asks for your Verification Code.
In order for you to give Gmail the code, you must have Google’s Authenticator app installed on your phone. That Authenticator app will give you the necessary code for you to login. (app being the “Something you have” factor)
You type in the code displayed on the app, and you’re in.

In most cases where the user (you) is a private citizen, and the company is public, an application is used to generate the necessary code. But the three factors can be in many forms.

Things You Know: Passwords, PIN’s , Phrases.
Things You Have: Phone app, Token, USB drive, Key fob, ID card (chipped, scanable).
Things You Are: Fingerprint, The retina of your eye.

The main point is this:
Use two factor authentication, when and wherever it’s offered. Yes, it’s an extra step. No, it’s not going to prevent you from EVER getting hacked. But it will and does help. Take the extra time,  and set it up.

Setting up Two Factor Authentication for Google

Setting up Two Factor Authentication for Apple ID

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