You’ve likely learned by now that using different passwords for each of your online accounts is vital to cybersecurity. But there’s another key step you should take to add an extra layer of protection against infiltration from cyberattackers into your email, social media, online shopping and online vending accounts: two-step authentication.
Two-step authentication adds a second step to the login process after you enter your username and password information. This second step typically comes in the form of a code sent to your mobile phone that you are prompted to enter before gaining access to your account. Occasionally, you’ll have the option to choose other verification methods like entering a code from an app on your phone or using a Security Key (a small device you plug into your computer in lieu of entering a code).
The two-step feature is available for use on many of today’s most popular platforms. Below, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide of turning on two-step authentication for some commonly-used accounts.
To enable two-step authentication for Gmail, first start at the two-step verification landing page. Then click “Get Started.” The site will prompt you to login with your password. Once you enter it, you’ll be asked to give a phone number. Make sure to use the number for the mobile device you’ll have on hand while logging in to your account.
You’ll then receive a code on your cell phone — just like you will each time you login once two-step authentication is enabled. After you enter the code, Gmail will ask if you’d like to to turn on the feature. Click “Turn On,” and you’ll have officially added a layer to your Gmail security process.
Facebook offers a two-step authentication feature you can access in the “Settings” menu. To arrive there, first click the arrow in the top right corner of your default newsfeed screen. Then click “Settings.” You’ll be taken to a new page with different categories on the left hand side of the screen. From there, click “Security and Login.”
On the “Security and Login” page, scroll down to the fourth box, titled “Setting Up Extra Security.” In this section, you’ll see the words “Use two-factor authentication” alongside an “Edit” button. Click “Edit” and the section will expand downwards.
From there, you can choose from a list of available two-step authentication methods: SMS, Code Generator and Recovery Key.
Facebook notes you’ll need to have at least SMS or both Code Generator and Recovery Key enabled for the feature to work properly.
[Two-step authentication isn’t the only thing you can do to up your Facebook security. Here are Six Ways To Strengthen Your Facebook Security.]
You can start the two-step authentication process for Twitter by clicking your photo icon in the top right of your main feed. From the dropdown menu, click “Settings and privacy.” Scroll down to the second section titled “Security.”
In the “Security” section you’ll find a button labeled “Set up login verification.” Click the button and you’ll be taken to an explanatory page with a “Start” button. Click the “Start” button and Twitter will take you to a page confirming the phone number connected to your account. At the bottom of the page, click “Send code.”
When you receive the code on your phone, type it into the box, and your two-step authentication set-up will be complete.
From your PayPal My Account page, click the gear icon in the top right of the screen. Then click the “Security” tab. Scroll down to the fourth item labeled “Security Key.” On the right, click “Update.”
Enter your mobile phone number into the “Security Key Setup” page and register your mobile number. A code will be sent to your phone.
Type the code into the next page and click “Activate my security key.” Voila! Your two-step authentication is enabled.
Hover over the “Accounts & lists” tab on the Amazon home page. Click “Your Account” from the dropdown menu. Click the box labeled “Login and security.”
On the “Login and security” page scroll down to the 5th row labeled “Advanced Security Settings.” Click “Edit.” This will bring you to the two-step authentication setup page. Click “Get Started.”
This will bring you to a page where you’re prompted to enter your phone number. You can choose your authentication method: SMS or automatic phone call voice delivery. Type in your number and click “Send code.”
Once you received the code on your phone, type it in and click “Verify code and continue.” On the next page, you’ll be given the option to add a backup verification method for the event that you don’t have access to your primary mobile device. You can enter backup information and choose whether or not you’d like to “Skip verification.” Then, proceed to the next step.
You’ll be taken to a final page explaining procedures for how to use two-step on devices that don’t support the typical format. Read the information and click “Got it. Turn on Two-Step Verification.”
Remember, two-step authentication is not a security fix-all, and should just be one part of many precautions you take to secure your online presence.