2 Factor Authentication
News of a another data breach seems to be in the news every week. Security is more and more important in our always-connected world.
One thing you can do to help increase your own security is the use of 2 factor authentication.
2 factor authentication is a technique where more then a password is required to access a service. An example of 2 factor authentication in the analog world would be when you use your debit card. You have to have the physical card and enter the pin number to complete a transaction.
In the online world, typically a way to verify someone is the owner of the account is to send a text message or email to a known device that has been previously verified.
Many services including Google are now using 2 factor authentication and although it takes a few moments to setup, particularly if you access something on several devices, the peace of mind that comes with this security is well worth it.
In most cases you will be asked to for a phone number or email address which will be used in addition to your password. The next time you access the service and put your password in, the service will send a text message or email with a code to enter to access the service. You enter that in and you are allowed into the service.
In many cases the device you successfully connect with is remembered. So for example after I have accessed my gmail account with my laptop it will not ask me again. Many services give you the option to manage which devices are allow to access the service. This is handy if you lose your device and want to make sure no one can access your services online as you can reset that device to ask for a code the next time it tries to login.
I highly recommend switching to 2 factor authentication with any online service that supports it.