There is a lot of concern about online accounts being hacked. With more and more of our personal lives being stored and shared online, keeping it safe is essential.
The majority of accounts are protected with a simple username and password. Most people reading this blog use passwords that can be easy for a hacker to guess. Even worse, people tend to use the same passwords over and over. This is dangerous because if one service gets their account information stolen, like the famous breaches at Yahoo! and LinkedIn, it becomes simple for hackers to try all of those account credentials on other sites to see where they might be duplicated.
Why Passwords Fail
The common username and password combination is as old as the Internet itself. For the reasons stated above, the passwords most people use can be broken by a persistent hacker.
If you want to use best practices for your passwords, every site should use a different password. All of your passwords should contain no readable words. They should be a long combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. While this all makes the accounts tougher to break into, it also makes it more likely that you’ll constantly be resetting your passwords since you won’t remember any of them anyway.
The Second Factor
To make your accounts more secure, all major online services, including Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Twitter, offer the option of two-factor authentication. After you log into one of these accounts, you will need to enter a code that is texted to you, or approve log-in via an app. The idea with two-factor is that a hacker would need physical possession of your phone in order to access your account, even if they have your username and password.
Setting Up Two-Factor Authentication
The way to add two-factor authentication varies by each account.
In Facebook, go to Settings | Security | “Two-Factor Authentication”.
For Apple iCloud, on your iPhone look under “Password & Security”.
To set up your Google account, log in with your Google info at https://www.google.com/landing/2step/.
For other services, you can usually find the settings under your account information.
Why Doesn’t Everyone Do It?
Every time you log into an account, having to wait for the code to come through can be a hassle. Plus, you’ll need your phone handy each time you do so. The added security overwhelms this minor inconvenience, especially considering the huge amount of time a single theft of your personal data could cause you.
Two-Factor Authentication Is Vital To Account Security
Most online services don’t encourage their users to turn on two-factor. Many people don’t even know the option is even available or what the advantages are. Turning on two-factor authentication will help prevent hackers from accessing your online accounts, and their valuable information.
When so much account information is being stolen from large corporate data hacks, this is an important step to take to protect yourself. Using two-factor authentication is highly recommended.