Two-Factor Authentication: Who Has It and How to Set It Up

This article from PCMag touches on the ever-important topic of two-step authentication and does 4 important things. 1. It states the obvious, that password only authentication is an extremely inadequate from of authentication; 2. It lists roughly 30 commonly used sites and accounts that offer two-step authentication; 3. It walks the reader through how to set up a two-step verification system on each of these accounts (including videos and screenshots); and 4. It discusses the inconvenience of security. 

So, for those of us that are unfamiliar with the concept of two-step authentication, what is it? PCMag's lead security analyst Neil J. Rubenking breaks it down for us:

"There are three generally recognized factors for authentication: something you know (such as a password), something you have (such as a hardware token or cell phone), and something you are (such as your fingerprint). Two-factor means the system is using two of these options."

With this explanation, it becomes easy to see the benefit of using a two-step verification system. If your only line of defense is something you know (your password) someone else could easily "know" this information as well. Whether the hacker guesses your password, uses a keylogger software, or an alternate method, it is all too clear this is not a sufficient form of protection. When your second line of defense is something you have (a separate device) or your fingerprint (something you are), you dramatically reduce the ability for someone to gain access to your accounts and information.

This article, fortunately, does anything but hold back on the reader. It also acknowledges the inconvenience of security and does not apologize for it. No one ever said security was convenient, in fact, the opposite has been said. Taking additional steps and adding in extra levels of security is a surefire way to complicate your normal routine. All of this taken into account, the article strongly recognizes that the inconvenience is without a doubt worth it.

Read the full article here.