One of the best pieces of security advice any computer expert can give you is to enable two-factor authentication for websites that support it. This is because, with password breaches so common nowadays, it could be the one thing that keeps hackers from stealing your online identity. Here are 5 things you should know about this 2FA tool!
Your email rules them all
If there’s one online account that’s you have to protect above all others, it’s your email. This isn’t because it contains your private conversations, but because it serves as a gateway to your other accounts. If you aren’t aware by now, most online services ask users to sign up with an email and rely on that to reset passwords or send important communications. Therefore, an attacker with access to your email can hack your online accounts by searching through your old registration emails. He can then reset your passwords and wreck havoc in your absence. So, start your adoption of two-factor or two-step authentication starting from your email account! All the major email providers including Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook offer this.
I’ve enabled my 2FA for my email account, now what?
If you’re using a password manager, that should be your next priority. The most popular password managers out there should the option for a two-factor authentication. Subsequently, you should secure your social media and payments accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn and PayPal.
Do I risk locking myself out?
In most cases, your phone will be central to your two-factor authentication experience. It will be used either to receive one-time passwords by SMS or via in-app authentication. If you’re worried about having your phones lost, stolen or broken, don’t fret it. Fortunately, most online services have contingency plans for these scenarios. Some companies allow users to specify a backup phone number that can be used for account recovery. Others provide backup codes when turning on two-factor authentication that can be stored in a safe place (like your email)! If all else fails, you’ll most likely have to directly contact the company’s technical support to prove that the account is yours. This may includes providing information about the account that only you would know. Either way, getting completely locked out of an account is extremely rare these days.
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