Join Jess Stratton for an in-depth discussion in this video Enabling two-factor authentication for your logins, part of Learning Computer Security and Internet Safety.
- I'm going to show you how to add something called two-step verification. Sometimes also called, two-factor authentication. To as many services as you subscribe to that offer it, two-step verification offers an additional layer of security by having you first log into the site as normal using your password, and then having the site send you a code directly to your mobile phone. You enter that code in to the web browser, and then you can begin using the service. That's the second step. You won't be prompted again on that particular device, but should anyone try to login as you on any other machine, they'll need your phone also.
So, there's two factors at play here. The code on your phone and your regular password. You can also usually have two-step security make a voice call to your home if you don't have a mobile phone, but remember that won't help if you're trying to access your account somewhere where you won't be able to answer your home phone. Let's add two-step security to a Gmail account. I've logged in to a Gmail account, and I'm going to click my profile picture on the top right hand side, and I'll click 'Account'. From here, I'm going to click the security tab.
In the 'Sign in' section, I can see a two-step verification section. This is how I know the two-step verification is available for this particular service. It's not available for everything, but is available for things like Facebook, Outlook.com, Gmail, and others. So, it's definitely worth it to go in and check all your accounts, and see if this is an option. Right now, it's disabled, but to set it up, I'm going to click 'Setup' right next to it. I'll click the blue 'Start setup' button on the right hand side.
The first thing I have to do is put in my regular password. You'll get prompted for a mobile phone number to send the codes to. This should be the mobile phone number that you're always going to have on you. You can choose how you want the code sent to you, via a voice call in which a voice will read you the digits, or a text message. In this case, I'm going to select 'Text message'. I'll click the blue 'Send code' button, and in less than a minute, I'll get a text message directly from Google. It contains an actual code in the text message. I can then take that code and put it into the screen.
Click 'Verify' and now I'm going to select to 'Trust this computer'. This is a desktop computer that's not going to move. I wouldn't select this if it was a laptop or something that can be lost easily. I'll click the blue 'Next' button, and now I'll click 'Confirm' that I do indeed want to turn on 'Two-step verification'. I'm going to reconnect all my apps later, and now, whenever I try to login to my Gmail account from any computer or device, I will first need to get that code from my mobile phone and put it in and then I can use the device as normal.
It's a great security feature. It's for your protection, so I strongly recommend that if you use any service that offers this, you should always turn it on.
- Installing updates
- Using antivirus software and protecting against viruses
- Enabling Windows Firewall
- Using password-management software
- Encrypting files that contain sensitive data
- Securing your router and protecting the SSID
- Understanding the signs of a secure website
- Checking settings for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari
- Unsubscribing from email subscriptions
- Reviewing site privacy settings
- Browsing on a public computer
- Understanding cookies
- Protecting other people's names and locations
- Fact-checking email warnings