Not a day passes without another high-profile security breach exposed in the media. Your password is just a string of characters stored somewhere on a database. Your password is just maybe some six characters if you are careless, 12 or more if you are cautious, but are they enough to protect all your data? Can a mere string of your password protect your bank account and emails? Your address and your credit card details?
Your password stand no chance against today’s password cracking tools, these tools are so smart and advanced they can easily cut through your clever password tricks. All these stories of account getting hacked have lead us to further doubt our passwords are just enough to keep us safe online.
We used to just be worried about hackers gaining access to our accounts but now more people are worried about their governments spying on them. Government internet surveillance has driven more people to question if usernames and passwords are just enough to protect them on the internet.
What you can do:
Strengthen your Passwords: Strengthen your passwords for sites that have not implemented the Two-factor Authentication. In an article “Tips to creating strong passwords”, I suggested how you can create a stronger password that won’t be so easy to crack.
Two-factor Authentication: Every website that takes the protection of its users seriously should’ve implemented the Two-factor authentication method. This method involves you to use not just passwords but a random generated code to gain access to your account.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Apple, Evernote and Dropbox etc have all implemented this security method. Embrace the two-factor authentication method; implement it on your site if you are a webmaster. Here is how I enabled Google 2-step verification on my WordPress blog. And if you are just an internet user I recommend you enable the two-factor authentication on all your accounts (for sites that have it). Two-factor authentication can help mitigate the damage of a password breach.
Let me show you how you can enable the two-factor authentication for some popular sites like Twitter, Google, Facebook etc.
How to enable Two-factor authentication on Google
Google is one of the first companies to implement this type of security on their site. They refer to it as 2-step verification.
- Simply login to any of your Google accounts let’s say Gmail, click on the down arrow next to the account name on the top right corner of your browser and select Account.
- Select Security in the left pane and click the Settings button under 2-Step Verification.
- Click on the Start Setup to proceed, you will be required to re-enter your account password at this stage to verify you truly own the account.
- Enter a phone number to which the authentication code will be sent to whenever you want to login to your Google account from an “untrusted” computer or device.
- Choose if you will prefer to receive the code via SMS message or voice call. A code will be sent to you, enter it on the next screen of the sign-up process and click Verify.
- Then designate the PC you are using as trusted if it’s your own personal PC or one you trust the people who have access to it.
- Then confirm that you want to enable the two-step verification.
How to enable Two-factor authentication on Twitter:
Twitter has also implemented the two-factor authentication system on their site; it is often referred to as Login Verification. Here is how to enable the two-factor authentication on Twitter.
1. Visit your account settings page.
2. Select “Require a verification code when I sign in.”
3. Click on the link to “add a phone” and follow the prompts.
4. After you enroll in login verification, you’ll be asked to enter a six-digit code that we send to your phone via SMS each time you sign in to twitter.com.
How to enable Two-factor authentication on Facebook:
Facebook in its bid to keep its users accounts safe has also implemented the two-factor authentication and often refer to it as “Login Approvals”. The Facebook login approval allows you to use a mobile app to generate authentication codes while offline. To enable the Facebook login approval, go to the Security section of your account settings.
Other popular sites out there like Microsoft, Apple and Dropbox and many more have all implemented the two-factor authentication system on their sites to protect their users, this feature is often available on the account settings pages of every site, so look out for such features on any site you belong to and enable it.
Two-factor authentication will secure your account more than just an ordinary password no matter how strong you think it is. Even banks are beginning to use hardware token to authenticate online transactions.
Please add your contributions or questions using the comment section below, remember to subscribe to my RSS feed.