OK folks, this one feels like a “duh” type of post to me.
Years ago, when I was an angsty preteen experimenting with a new and wild internet, I used to send my friends an email like this:
Dear sir or madame,
Your account has been compromised. Please reply to this email with your password, and we will reset it for you.
Sincerely, your email provider
And yeah, it actually worked and I got people’s passwords, which I only used to ruin their StarCraft ladder ranking or other similarly dumb reasons. Easily. The scary thing is that phishing scams still work really, really well. Some are quite convincing, others are less sophisticated than my 1996 tomfoolery. No matter how smart you are or how complex your passwords are, there’s always a chance you’ll mess up and give your password to someone who shouldn’t have it. That’s why two-factor authentication is so important.
Two-factor authentication is a pretty simple concept. When you log into an account on a new phone, tablet, or computer, your account will send you a text (or email, or other form of communication) with a short “extra code” to enter. This helps prevent phishing scams from working: if a bad-guy has your account email and password, they can’t get in to anything unless they also have your phone! If you’ve already been compromised (i.e. someone already stole your info), setting this process up also usually logs you out everywhere else: any bad-guys lose access to your stuff immediately.
Now, you can set up two-factor authentication on any number of social accounts. I use it for Google (including Google Drive, because obviously nobody should see my tax records or videos of me trying to stand en pointe despite never taking ballet), Twitter, GitHub, and Facebook. It’s super easy and not-at-all hard to figure out on most platforms, but there’s no way I could give you an exhaustive list of instructions. We’ll start with Facebook, since it’s pretty ubiquitous.
On mobile (I tested this on Android, and it might look different on iOS):
That’s it! Two-factor authentication is ready to go! The first factor is your password, and the second factor is the text it’ll send you! Setting this up for Twitter, Google, and others is similarly easy. It’s a fantastic way to beef up your own personal security.
Now, there are additional authenticator apps you can use for further management, but that’s something you can discover yourself, or maybe it’ll be the subject of another blog post. I personally like Google Authenticator, it’s super convenient for times when I might not have text access (seems I work in basements a lot).
There you have it! We helped you beef up your security, now help us out by sharing this post! And don’t forget to give our tech company Operation Incredible a “like” on your newly-fortified Facebook account!