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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 29 November, 2014

Why you should be using two-step verification for all your accounts

One of the best ways to keep your accounts safe only requires a phone that can receive SMS messages.

Image: Google

YOU CAN NEVER keep your accounts too safe. Accounts do get compromised, security breaches occur and most of the time, we rely on simple passwords.

Yet there is one useful way to improve your account security that you mightn’t be aware of. The only thing you need is your phone.

What is two-step verification?

Passwords on their own aren’t particularly secure. While you’re recommended to come up with as strong a password as possible,

Two-step verification (or two-step authentication depending on how you want to phrase it) adds an extra layer of security to your account, by making use of your phone on top of your existing email/username and password requirement.

Its main purpose is to prevent anyone from remotely accessing (or hacking) your account by making them require your phone as well, a difficult task considering that most hacks or security breaches happen remotely.

Great, but how does it work?

In this case, we will use Google as an example with all services supporting the feature follow the same basic template.

To start off, you will need to go into security, which you can find when you click on account under your profile, and you will see the option for two-step verification.

From there, it’s a matter of entering in your number, choosing whether to receive an SMS message or voice call with your code, and entering in the code you receive.

Google 2-step verification (Pic 2)

Source: TheJournal.ie

Once you’ve done that, you will be asked if this is your own personal computer – it’s strongly recommended you use your home computer instead of work – and then to officially confirm your decision.

Google 2-step verification Gif

Source: TheJournal.ie

And that’s it. You get a new code sent to you every time you require one to keep your accounts safe.

Who supports it?

Of the most popular services out there, AppleFacebookDropbox, GoogleTwitterEvernotePayPalSteamMicrosoftLinkedInWordpress, Amazon, and Tumblr are just a few that offer two-step verification (Details on how to activate each one is included in each link).

This isn’t an extensive list by any means, but it shows that many of the services you already use it. They may offer different variations of the same thing, either by different names, different length codes or sometimes text, but ultimately, it’s something you should have activated.

Read: Google must delete your data if you ask, orders judge in landmark case >

Read: The Data Protection Commissioner is very worried about the new postcode system. Here’s why… >

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