Protect Yourself with 2-Factor Authentication

I 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 the internet on 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.

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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 a 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, 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!


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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  1. I connect to a lot of things, twitter, pinterest, linky and so many more , I am always making sure I am protected and my privacy rights are not violated 🙂 thanks for share

  2. Thank you for sharing this information. I am going to have to read further into the link you left for the 2 factor authentication in order to protect my accounts. I was not aware this was available until reading your article.

  3. Yes, hacking is out of control. Just 2 days ago I got a text message from a friend telling me that my email account was hacked. He then told me that he kept getting emails from me filled with spam and links to spam, or phishing. I even remember reading on Facebook that a bloggers Facebook page was hacked and she got completely locked out of her account! She had to start a whole new page and warn everyone that it wasn’t her on that page anymore. So crazy. I’ll check out this 2-factor authentication. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for the great articule on internet safety we all need to reminded! Thanks for the time you spent writing

  5. I’m pretty sure that you and my husband have been collaborating behind my back! He works in banking as well, so he’s hyper aware of the security risks that are out there. He’s always working on me to have better, more secure passwords–I’m working on it! I’ve switched to 2 step verification after my Gmail account was hacked while I was still teaching college; the hack included spam emails being sent to all of my students who had that account. So embarrassing!

    1. @Natalie, my hubby works in IT so I get it from him too! Social media accounts are hacked all the time too, you can never be too careful!

  6. that is just so annoying! why do people waste their time hacking accounts. i tried using lastpass before.. but it just hasn’t stuck yet. i’ve had my instagram get hacked once.. but other than that everything has been fine. i did hear that for macs 1password is excellent. my friend got it when it was at beta stage and got grandfathered in, but now it’s really expensive!

  7. 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. 🙂


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

  8. 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