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two-factor authenticationNot long ago, Tina told you all about two-factor authentication What Is Two-Factor Authentication, And Why You Should Use It What Is Two-Factor Authentication, And Why You Should Use It Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security method that requires two different ways of proving your identity. It is commonly used in everyday life. For example paying with a credit card not only requires the card,... Read More , how it works, and why you should use it. In a nutshell, two-factor authentication (2FA), or two-step verification as it’s sometimes called, is an additional layer of security added on top of the standard user and password.

When you log into a website that offers two-factor authentication, you need to enter an additional password or PIN in order to fully log on. This extra password can be sent to your mobile device, generated by a designated app, or even by a special device. Since you must have these two passwords to log in, it’s much harder for someone else to break into your account.

With security issues on the rise and due to the increasing amount of sensitive information stored online, more and more services are starting to offer 2FA. You can go through Tina’s article What Is Two-Factor Authentication, And Why You Should Use It What Is Two-Factor Authentication, And Why You Should Use It Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security method that requires two different ways of proving your identity. It is commonly used in everyday life. For example paying with a credit card not only requires the card,... Read More if you’re not sure why you should use it or where, but in general, if you use a service to store sensitive information, and it offers two-factor authentication, you should probably enable it. Read on to find out if the services you’re using offer this option.

Note that many banks offer 2FA these days. We can’t list them all, but if you do a lot of online banking, find out if your bank offers this service.

Google

two-factor authentication

For many, Google and Gmail are almost synonyms, but 2FA is an option for any service you use under your Google account. Setting it up is really easy; when enabling it from the 2FA setting page, you can choose to receive the additional code by text message or voice call. You can also download the Google Authenticator app to generate codes on your Android, iPhone, Blackberry or Windows Phone device. This app can come in handy for other services as well.

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If you don’t want to enter the extra code every time you log into Gmail, you can specify computers you trust, in which case you won’t have to enter the extra code. Read more about setting up 2FA for your Google account here.

Dropbox

password authentication

Dropbox added this option only recently Dropbox Adds New Two-Step Verification Feature, Enable It Now To Protect Your Dropbox Account! [Updates] Dropbox Adds New Two-Step Verification Feature, Enable It Now To Protect Your Dropbox Account! [Updates] Following a security breach in July, and a promise to do better where it comes to security, Dropbox is rolling out a two-step authentication feature. The new feature, which is currently still experimental, adds an... Read More , following a significant security breach. You can enable it from your account’s security settings – scroll all the way down to “Account sign in” and find “Two-step verification”.

With Dropbox, you can choose to receive the code via text message, or generate it yourself on your Android, iPhone, Blackberry or Windows Phone device using one of the supported apps.

Facebook

password authentication

Facebook is especially vulnerable to account breaches, and it can be very unpleasant to have someone take over something as personal as your Facebook profile. To avoid that, you can enable a feature called Login Approvals How to Use Facebook Login Approvals and Code Generator on Android How to Use Facebook Login Approvals and Code Generator on Android To keep your device secure, we show you how to set up Login Approvals and Code Generator on Facebook for Android. Read More , which will require an additional code every time you try to login from an unrecognized computer or device. You can enable Login Approvals through your account’s security settings.

Note that in order for this feature to work, you need to add a mobile phone number to your Facebook account, and also let Facebook remember your computer and browser. It will only ask for the extra password when it detects an attempted login from a new computer or device. Read more about enabling this feature here.

LastPass

password authentication

LastPass is one of the most popular How Do You Handle Passwords? [MakeUseOf Poll] How Do You Handle Passwords? [MakeUseOf Poll] With the boom of online services requiring registration, we all have to choose between risking our privacy with only one password, or using some kind of tracking method for multiple passwords. How do you choose... Read More password management systems out there, and there’s nothing in need of more protection than a vault full of passwords. For this reason, it’s a good idea to set up 2FA for your precious LastPass account, and the sooner the better. LastPass offers 2FA using Google Authenticator, and you can easily enable it in your LastPass account settings.

After it’s set up, you will need to use your mobile device to generate an extra code when you log into your LastPass vault from an untrusted device. You can read more about setting up 2FA for LastPass here.

WordPress

If you’re worried about someone taking over your blog, why not give it the ultimate protection by enabling 2FA? In WordPress, 2FA can be enabled on a per-user basis, so if the blog has several users, you can enable it only for some, or only for the administrator.

WordPress also makes use of Google Authenticator (told you it would come in handy!), and you’ll have to install a WordPress plugin in order to enable it. Read more about it here.

Yahoo!

two-factor authentication

While not as popular as it used to be, many users still sport a Yahoo! account, and even use it for email. This is good enough reason to want to protect it, and Yahoo! does offer a 2FA feature, of sorts. It’s called Second Sign-In Verification, and will only ask for an extra password if you’re trying to log in from an untrusted computer.

You can enable this feature in your Account Information, and choose if you want to receive the code by text message or email (a different email, obviously). It’s pretty old fashioned, but it’s better than nothing.

Amazon Web Services

Although you can’t set up 2FA for your regular Amazon account, it is available if you use Web services such as S3. It supports Google Authenticator, and there’s not much to do in terms of setup. You can find out just a bit more about it here.

Notable Absentees: Microsoft

Surprisingly, Microsoft doesn’t really offer 2FA for most of its services. According to this forum thread, some service such as Xbox Live and SkyDrive do offer some form of it, but it’s only by text message or to an alternate email. It’s worth mentioning, though, that Microsoft had recently acquired PhoneFactor, a two-factor authentication app, so it might have something planned in that regard.

Your Turn

These are only some popular services that offer two-factor authentication; there are probably many smaller one that offer this feature. This is where you come in. If you know of or use a website that offers two-factor authentication, tell us about it in the comments. Help us turn this post into a much bigger and more useful list for everyone!

Image credit: lock image via Shutterstock

  1. Shahbaz Amin
    December 6, 2012 at 4:34 am

    I think Google is the only option here!! (for me)

  2. PJ Wessels
    October 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    While two step can initially be a pain, I feel much better having it.

  3. Anonymous
    October 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I like 2 step verification.

  4. Julian
    October 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I use Two-Factor Authentication across a lot of my accounts. I feel a lot more secure when I can telesign into my account. If you have that option available to you use it, it is worth the time and effort to have the confidence that your account won't get hacked and your sites are not up for grabs. If you opt into 2FA, you will have to "Confirm your phone". You would receive a text message with a specific code to be entered into the system. If you don't want to do this every single time, you can designate your smartphone, PC, or tablet as a trusted device and they will allow you to telesign in without the text code. Should an attempt to login from an unrecognized device happen, it would not be allowed.

  5. Kaashif Haja
    October 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I've activated 2-step verification backup codes in gmail. It comes in handy sometimes!
    You can explain that too..
    Anyways, Good piece of information..

  6. Jean-Claude Landau
    October 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    PayPal & BofA both offer 2FA

  7. josemon maliakal
    October 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    very useful lara..thumbs up

  8. Paul Forbing
    October 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I'm happy to see all the advances to security for online accounts. I'm using Google's two-factor authentication. I've been reluctant to expand my two factor to other accounts only because it can be annoying and a pain in the butt, though that is the point of it right? I should just take the plunge.

    • Freud Iomc
      October 19, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      " because it can be annoying and a pain in the butt"

      That's very true, but weigh the alternative... how much hassle would it be to be compromised and have your identity stolen? 2FA looks pretty simple then...

  9. Mark O'Neill
    October 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I was already using Google, Dropbox and Facebook, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there was 2FA for WordPress. Thanks for finding that little gem :-)

  10. Vampie C.
    October 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    2FA is nice, but I had to reset my phone and I rememeber that it was some work to first diasble and then reenable it.

    But it is good for those who are concerned about their account :-)

    • Mark O'Neill
      October 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      I agree. It's a bit of work involved if you have to disable the 2FA account then reenable it. It's times like that when you curse the whole system under your breath.

      But then I remind myself that it is deliberately meant to be this difficult to deter any would-be hackers. So it's good that there is so much hassle involved. If it was easy, then it wouldn't be much of a deterrent.

      • Vampie C.
        October 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm

        Great last point. Never looked at it this way. ;-)

        Thanks

        • Ken E Baker
          October 20, 2012 at 10:20 am

          Just keep the settings / passwords (or the How To) in your password safe.

          Setting up 2-way is a bit complex, so I always save the how-to notes in my Keepass just in case I need to set it up again (which I have, three times)

        • Yaara Lancet
          October 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm

          Cool tip!

  11. John Hannibal Swift
    October 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    2 factor is fine for those with mobile phones. I don't own one. Surely there are other ways of implementing this other than via sms text?

  12. Igor Rizvi?
    October 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I find two way authentication,expecially in gmail (who has 3yo account,very secure :)

  13. Mac Witty
    October 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    As far as i know Apple don't use Two-Factor Authentication for their services either

  14. Rajaa Chowdhury
    October 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Love Google Apps Two-Factor authentication for our company apps security.

  15. Alex Perkins
    October 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Use google all the time, never use Yahoo, slightly worried about MS not having 2FA though. :-s

  16. Usman Khurshid
    October 19, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Microsoft's acquisition of PhoneFactor is definitely a hint of Microsoft introducing multiple factor authentication to its services. The only doubt in my mind is that this authentication could be only for enterprise clients or paid services and not for free services like outlook.com or even Microsoft account itself ..

  17. salim benhouhou
    October 19, 2012 at 10:49 am

    secured my accounts with 2FA thank you Yaara

  18. Yitzchok Mickler
    October 19, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I use 2FA on Google and LastPass but I can't use it on anything else because I don't have SMS or a smartphone. Come on Dropbox and friends and enable non-text-message 2FA like Google and Lastpass!

  19. Boni Oloff
    October 19, 2012 at 5:55 am

    I start using google Authenticator this last days in myiPhone, it is double my login security, not all people can log in to my google account.

  20. Sanjay Kumar
    October 19, 2012 at 5:30 am

    It seems that you have forgotten about Hotmail(outlook) mail which enables temporary pwd sent to mobile to login. I love this feature.. which even dont need to enter pwd once.

  21. Justin Smith
    October 19, 2012 at 1:56 am

    I Love google and I hate yahoo. :D

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