With the increasing use of internet and social media platforms, cybercrimes and internet frauds are also on a rise. We share a lot of information on our social media channels — photos, videos, places we visit, and more. And with all this, it becomes increasingly important to take adequate security measures to ensure our accounts and information are safe. One way to do this is securing our accounts with two-factor authentication (or 2FA).
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your account. Besides the usual username and password, 2FA also includes something else, which can be an OTP password, system generated random authentication code, to name a few. With this extra layer of security, it becomes harder for intruders to gain control of your account. 2FA is now offered by all major social networking sites, email services and more. On your smartphones, you can also use apps such as Google Authenticator, LastPass password manager, Authy 2-Factor Authentication and Duo Mobile among others. Now, let’s go ahead and look at how to add two-factor authentication to your accounts.
To add two-factor authentication to your Facebook account, click on the down arrow on the top right corner, just besides the notification and quick help shortcuts, followed by clicking on Settings -> Security and Login.
Now, click on edit button on ‘Use two-factor authentication’ under ‘setting up extra security’ sub-section.
Next, turn on two-factor authentication and enable ‘text message’ option by adding your mobile number.
Now, every time you login to Facebook on a new laptop or smartphone, you will be asked to enter the six-digit code from the code generator or third-party app. You can open Facebook app on your smartphone, tap on hamburger menu on the top right, and scroll down to tap on code generator to get the code.
Alternatively, you can click on “Need another way to authenticate?” hyperlink just below the login code box and click on ‘text me a login code’ to get the login code as an OTP.
Instagram also offers two-factor authentication to its users. However, unlike Facebook where you can enable it on web, 2FA on Instagram needs to be enabled from the smartphone app. ALSO READ: Instagram to blur ‘sensitive’ photos and videos, finally rolls out two-factor authentication
Open Instagram, tap on the bottom right corner icon for your profile, followed by three dots on the top right and two-factor authentication. Under this, toggle ‘Require Security Code’, which will send a six-digit authentication code as a text message on your number. Enter this code and your 2FA for Instagram will be activated.
The app will display five backup codes which you can copy or save a screenshot and keep it safe somewhere. You can re-access these codes in the app anytime you want. However, if you buy a new device, you will get another 2FA when you sign in from a new device.
To activate Login Verification on Twitter, click on your profile on the top right, followed by Settings and Privacy. Now, under Security, check the box that reads verify login requests. You will need to enter your mobile number and verify the same with an OTP. ALSO READ: Twitter adds two-factor authentication for third-party apps, ability to mute offensive posts and more
Now, every time you login to Twitter — be it on your smartphone, tablet or PC — you will have to authenticate using the OTP. You can also use code generator apps, get backup codes or generate a temporary password to login to devices or apps from the Settings and Privacy menu on the website.
Google also has two-step verification feature to safeguard your Google account. This includes Google+, Gmail, Hangouts, and other connected Google apps. To enable two-step verification, follow the below mentioned procedure.
Head over to Google’s My Account by clicking here, and click on Sign-in & Security, followed by Password and Signing in method and click on 2-Step Verification. Next, click on ‘Get Started’ enter your mobile number, and select how you want the OTP (text message or phone call). Select text message and click on next. After you get the OTP, enter the same and click turn on. ALSO READ: Google Prompt makes 2-factor authentication easier, here’s how to enable it
Once two-step verification is turned on, you can also choose alternative second step — such as Google prompt, authenticator app, backup phone, backup codes (that you can print and keep) or security key. I prefer Google Prompt as every time I try to login, it sends a prompt on my Android smartphone, where I just need to tap on yes or no, to authenticate or reject access. In case the smartphone isn’t connected to the internet, it sends a text message.
With all our chats on WhatsApp, it becomes increasingly important to secure it with two-step verification. Open WhatsApp, tap on three dots on top right, tap on Settings -> Account -> Two-step verification to enable the feature. On the iOS app, you will need to tap the Settings button the bottom-right corner, and then follow the same process to enable 2FA. You will also need to set a six-digit code of your choice to authenticate when required. ALSO READ: WhatsApp introduces two-step verification as extra security for its 1.2 billion users
Once the feature is enabled, every time you setup WhatsApp on a new device, you will get an OTP to authorize, and you will also need to enter the six-digit code that you created. WhatsApp may also randomly ask you to enter the six-digit code, thus making the app even more secured.