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Protect Yourself with 2-Factor Authentication

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Social Media SundayI have been wanting to write this post for a while, but it was another friend getting their Gmail account hacked this week that prompted me to complete it. These days, hacking is a weekly event, on the news or internet in a frighteningly frequent basis. The days of not taking our internet security seriously are over.

I was lucky that this topic was on my radar far earlier than most. Due to working at a bank and needing to ensure that everything I and my team touches is secure to the highest level, I have been using 2-factor authentication (or 2-step verification) for a while.

I use 2-factor authentication for ALL my email accounts and ALL my social media (nearly all the major channels offer it). Yes, it makes my life just a little more inconvenient, I have to do an additional step to access my accounts, but it is far more convenient than getting hacked.

Protect Yourself with 2-Factor Authentification

How it works

Let’s take Twitter for an example (but this is how it works for all platforms: email, social media, banks, etc.). When I go to log into Twitter on a computer or my phone I enter my new username and password. If I have 2-factor authentication set-up, I will get a text message (I suggest this method) or an email (or a phone call) with a 3-6 digit code (depending on the site) that I have to enter into an additional security screen. After entering the code, I will then be directed to the site, or my email box, etc.

If someone hacks your username and password, they would also have to have your cell phone too.

Please, please use 2-factor authentication.

Even if you are reading this and don’t use social media, you use personal email. Think about how many things are connected to your personal email address? How many e-commerce accounts? How much personal information? Lots!

Resources

The Wall Street Journal has the best article I have seen on what 2-factor is, with links to all the major sites instructional pages, so that you have a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

If you are visual, this video is pretty good (don’t mind the British accent!):

 

Here is a great article from Mashable about a lot of sites that were impacted by Heartbleed bug.

Having a complex password (and more than one) is another factor in making sure your online life is a little more secure. There are password vaults and password tools out there that can help you create complex passwords (and remember them!). LastPass is one highly recommended one, but there are many, including apps like Lookout.

Do it!

What about you? Do you have any other online security tips you’d like to share?

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Lauriel

Monday 29th of December 2014

Andi, ah yes, that was a painful time! (But good learning experience...)

Rebekah

Monday 29th of December 2014

I'm all about the additional authentication too! My favorite is when they send text messages to confirm.

Andi Fisher

Monday 29th of December 2014

@Rebekah, glad to hear you are protecting yourself, so many bloggers aren't!

Jenn @ hellorigby!

Sunday 28th of December 2014

One of my gmail accounts was hacked last year and I was kicking myself for not having two-factor-authentication enabled then, but I definitely do now! So annoying dealing with getting hacked!

Andi Fisher

Monday 29th of December 2014

@Jenn, that sucks, but I am glad to hear you are protected now!

Katie

Saturday 27th of December 2014

I am pretty convinced that I should be doing this too. I completely agree that It's really important. Especially if you have a lot of followers because people will steal it. I've heard of people with rare twitter names having them stolen!

Katie <3

Andi Fisher

Monday 29th of December 2014

@Katie, yes it is so important to do!

lauriel

Friday 26th of December 2014

I'm sorry to hear about your friend's gmail account getting hacked, but great post about 2-fac auth! I use Last Pass myself, and love it. Total peace of mind, and it keeps everything straight for me. Highly recommended. :)

xo, lauriel EyeForElegance.com

Andi Fisher

Monday 29th of December 2014

@Lauriel, LastPass is great! I work for a bank and when the whole Heartbleed was happening we recommended them as well.