Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Google, Facebook, and 2FA

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to enhance the security of your Facebook and Google accounts? How about a way that makes it much more difficult for your Facebook or Google account to be hacked? What if it was easy to use?

Good news! The answer to all of the questions above is yes!

Recently, Google and Facebook rolled out two-factor authentication (2FA as we geeks like to call it). It’s easy to use and makes it significantly more difficult for your account to become compromised. Who wants to have to explain to their grandma why they sent her a raunchy email or photograph? Not me, that’s why I’m recommending you go enable 2FA on your social media accounts right now. So what is 2FA?

As I said, 2FA stands for two-factor authentication. The normal username/password login sequence we are all familiar with would be considered single factor authentication. You are only asked to provide one secret, a password, in order to access a protected resource. With two-factor authentication, you are asked to provide two secrets in order to access your account. So where does the other secret come from? Your cell phone!

Here is how a 2FA works when logging into your Facebook account. You go to the Facebook login page and enter your username and password as normal.

Next, you are asked to enter a security code. The security code is in a text message sent to your cell phone.

That is all there is to it. You just saw what a 2FA Facebook logon looks like. See, I told you it would be easy. The security code changes each time you login to your account making it more powerful than using only a password. Google account 2FA works almost identically to Facebook.

You can enable 2FA in your Facebook account by going to Account Settings(it’s on the right) and clicking on the Security link (it’s on the left). Look for the Login Approvals option. On your Google account, go to Account Settings and find “Using 2-step verification.”

I hope everyone who reads this starts using 2FA. Leave a comment below if you found this helpful.

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