2FA, short for two-factor authentication, is an access management and identity verification security system where two different identification procedures are required to allow access to data or resources. It gives users the capacity to monitor and secure their personal information and vulnerable networks. The process asks for two different authentication elements beyond the username and password before a user is allowed access to a platform or application.
An excellent example of platforms where two-factor authentication is important is your online payment applications. You may be using such payment channels to shop online, load your bankroll in iGaming sites like the Vulkan Vegas casino or pay for other internet-based services and subscriptions. As is the nature of using the internet, especially in cases where money is involved, there’s no such thing as being too careful because hackers could strike at any time.
So, even if a hacker somehow manages to get your password, the extra layer of security will stop the hacker from proceeding any further. Better still, most 2FA systems alert you to let you know of attempted access to your account to confirm whether it’s you or your security might have been compromised.
However, it’s worth noting that not all websites support two-factor authentication, but if you have the option to activate it, it would be wise to toggle it on the website settings. Although the exact procedure differs from one site to another, the process is usually straightforward. Here’s a breakdown of the steps you should follow to activate the feature in some of the most popular online services and platforms we use today:
To set up 2FA on Google accounts such as Gmail or YouTube, log on to your Google account and then navigate to ‘Security’ settings. Next, click 2-Step Verification under ‘Signing in to Google’ and then select ‘Get Started.’ You’ll be prompted to log in to your account again and from there, choose your mobile device in the options displayed.
Next, Google will try to send a message to that phone; if it succeeds, you’ll be required to input a phone number. After that, you can select to either receive your verification codes via text or an automated voice call. After that, your preferred method will be verified again.
Henceforth, Google will first be sending pop-up notifications on your mobile device where you can simply click ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ whenever you attempt to log in to your account. In case that fails to work, the system will either send a text message or call on your phone number.
Here, the process is much easier. First, load up the WhatsApp application and navigate to the settings menu under the upper right hamburger icon. From there, move to ‘Account’ and then ‘Two-step Verification’. After enabling the feature, the app will prompt you to input your six-digit code to use as a verification PIN. Of course, it is wise to add your email address as well, just in case you ever forget your security PIN.
Instagram introduced an in-app two-factor authentication option in 2017, but now you can also get it done via the web. To trigger the 2FA option on your mobile app, go to your profile and click the hamburger menu in the upper right section. Next, navigate to the ‘Settings’ menu and then scroll to ‘Two-factor Authentication’. You should then choose between receiving a code via your authentication app or text message verification.
To switch on two-factor authentication on the web, log in to your account and look for the gear icon next to your profile name. Then, click the gear icon to access the settings menu, which will offer a ‘Privacy and Security’ option where you can set up 2FA, similar to the mobile app.
Verification Methods for Two-Factor Authentication
As you already know, passwords are not the best examples of security as we, humans, tend to have lousy memories, and more so if we handle too many accounts. So, rather than struggling to come up with a difficult password, you should take advantage of 2FA to make things easier and more secure.
Depending on the platform, there are different verification methods when using two-factor authentication. Here’s a list of some of the most popular options:
- Hardware tokens
- Push notifications
- Voice-based authentication
- SMS verification
- Email verification
The above options provide codes or tokens with a unique set of letters/numbers to verify your identity. Only after confirming the codes or tokens by entering them manually or automatically as prompted on the specific platform will you be allowed access.
Stay Sharp, Stay Vigilant!
Two-factor authentication is a welcome addition to online security; you can expect to see more of it in the coming years. Eventually, this extra layer of protection will be a standard for all online services and platforms that handle valuable personal information such as personal data and finances.
For now, however, if 2FA is not available for some of your online accounts, you must make unique and easy-to-remember passwords and keep changing them regularly. That way, your online experiences will remain safe, secure, and as enjoyable as ever.