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Say Yes to two-factor authentication (2FA)

When it comes to data security, SMS-based or app-based two-factor authentication using your smartphone is more secure than depending solely on passwords. It adds an extra layer of security to your account.

Enabling two-factor authentication is just like having two different locks installed on your door. You’re got to unlock both to have access.

While the security feature is there on almost every platforms. They are disabled by default. Moreover, setup can also be time consuming. Hence, most people usually ignore it and leave them off because they find it inconvenient.

However, it is worth noting that despite these little inconveniences, one must ensure the privacy and security of their data. Just because you’re just one in a billion, doesn’t not mean you cannot be targeted.

Apple, one of the biggest tech giants today enabled two-factor authentication on iCloud and urged its customers to use it at all times in response to the hacked iCloud service, exposing copies of private and nude celebrity photos.

Well, in the past few months, billions of data were also breached and exposed to hackers in an alarmingly increasing rate.

So don’t compromise. It only takes a few baby steps to ensure your account is fully protected. Two-factor authentication is not meant exclusively for IT geeks, but for any ordinary person as well.

Choosing between SMS and Authenticator app

Both features are good but SMS can be a bit troublesome due to the following reasons:

  • If there is a delay in the network service, SMS authentication code is also delayed. You could get stuck if their is no network available or your phone has no signal
  • If you travel to other countries, SMS authentication could also become problematic if your service does not have roaming enabled or no coverage.

To avoid these frustrations, using an authenticator app on your device such as Google Authenticator is a way to go. It offers a convenient way of generating authentication codes for you to use.

However, in situations where you don’t have access to your phone, always prepare a printed backup authentication codes at hand. Depending on the platform you use, you can simply print a system-generated backup codes and store it somewhere safe (like in your wallet for example).

Enabling 2FA in Gmail

Screenshot of Gmail Account security settings

To enable this feature in Gmail, simply logon to your account management console then select and enable 2-Step verification. You will be given here a number of options. Choose the one you prefer.

  • Google Prompt
  • Authenticator App
  • Voice of text message
  • Backup codes
  • Security key – security keys are hardware devices you can use to authenticate using bluetooth, USB, etc

Enabling 2FA on Facebook

Screenshot of Facebook security settings

One of the most used platform today is Facebook. To activate this feature, simply navigate to your Facebook settings, then go to Security and login.

Navigate to the Two-factor authentication section and turn it on. You will also be given here a number of options to use. Choose the one you prefer.

  • Text message
  • Authentication app
  • Recover codes
  • Security key

Enabling 2FA on Yahoo

Screenshot of Yahoo security settings

Yahoo is still being widely used nowadays. So for Yahoo users, activate 2FA by logging on to your account, then navigate to Settings > Account Security.
For Yahoo, there are only two options as of this writing:

  • Two-step verification via phone text message or voice call
  • Using Yahoo Account Key

To use the Yahoo Account Key, you must install Yahoo mobile app first. Once installed you can activate it by following the instructions under the Account Security settings. You can only use one feature at a time.

Enabling 2FA on LinkedIn

Screenshot of Linked security settings

To enable 2FA on LinkedIn, go to Settings & Privacy > Account > Login and security. Then choose Two-step verification and turn it on.
Here, you be given two options:

  • Authenticator App
  • Phone number (SMS)

Almost all other platforms support 2FA. Simply go to your platform’s knowledgebase to know more about enabling this feature.

It can be a little inconvenient at first. But when you get used to it, you’ll have a more secure and safe account.

Stay safe and secure!

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