It has many different names — including 2-step authentication, two-factor authentication, login verification and second sign-in verification — but it all boils down to the same thing: Extra security for your information and all the work you’ve created.
The concept is simple: to gain access to any given account, the person requesting it will need two separate pieces of information.
Two-factor authentication requires:
- Something you know (such as a password)
- Something you have (like your phone)
The idea is that while a hacker or thief might be able to gain access to one or the other, it’s unlikely he or she will have both parts of the puzzle.
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When logging in with your password to a new computer or device, you will be asked to provide an additional verification code, which is sent to your phone (text or voice).
Check out this quick video explaining the purpose and the process:
Where to get started
Here are some direct links to set up two-step verification on some popular sites:
- Google (including Gmail) (or go directly to the Authorizing applications & sites page)
- Yahoo! mail
- iTunes (Apple ID)
- Lastpass (password manager)
- You can also add two-step verification to your WordPress blog
Of course, keep this in mind for both business and personal accounts, because in addition to protecting your latest book draft and assorted media contacts, it also means playing it safe with the many photos and emails and virtual fragments of everything else that has inspired, educated and entertained you over the years.