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Here's How and Why to Enable Two-Factor Authentication Across Your Apps

By Mary Beth Hamilton | Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Last week it was widely publicized that approximately 32 million Twitter passwords were compromised and leaked online. These days, the reality is that password leaks are all too common.

While users must be responsive to leak news and immediately change their passwords, they should also consider being proactive in enabling advanced password protections (i.e. two-factor authentication) provided by many social media and mainstream applications.

Two factor verification for appsHere’s a rundown of some popular social media and other applications that provide two-factor authentication. (Note, if you aren’t familiar with two-factor authentication, read our article What Is Multi-Factor Authentication, and How Can I Use It?)

Apple: By enabling two-factor authentication, your Apple accounts can only be accessed on devices you trust. During the initial sign-in on a new device, you will need your password and six-digit verification code that's automatically displayed on your trusted devices. Once signed in, you won’t be asked for a verification code on that device again unless you sign out completely, erase the device, or need to change your password for security reasons.

Facebook: Facebook calls it Login Approvals, but the concept is the same. Once Login Approvals is activated on your account (here’s how), you'll log in with your password, and a code will be sent to your phone. The code is required to successfully log in.

Google/Gmail: Google's two-step verification allows users to protect their accounts with both a password and phone. Step 1) Sign into Google with your usual password; Step 2) You’ll be asked for either a security code that is sent to your phone via text/voice call/Google mobile app, or you can insert your Google Security Key into your computer’s USB port.

It is worth noting that during Google sign-in, you can choose not to use 2-Step Verification again on that particular computer. From then on, that computer will only ask for your password when you sign in.

Snapchat: Here’s what Snapchat has to say about enabling login verifications: users can receive a verification code through SMS verification or an Authenticator app such as Duo or Google Authenticator. To enable Login Verification, users simply go to the Snapchat settings, select 'Login Verification' and decide which method (or both) they want to use receive verification codes.

Twitter: Last, but not least, Twitter. Once you enable Twitter’s login verification, you will need both your password and your mobile phone, which will be sent a six-digit login code, to access your account.

Other applications with two-factor authentication include:

  • DropBox

  • Evernote

  • Eze Managed Suite (of course!)

  • LastPass

  • LinkedIn

  • Microsoft Accounts

  • PayPal

Finally, the importance of password management and maintenance cannot be understated. Beyond having complex, original passwords, you must change them often, use different ones across the Internet and consider enabling two-factor authentication.

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