Using the web in today’s world opens yourself up to the possibility of being hacked. Online security isn’t just a good idea anymore, it is now a necessity. Protecting yourself from these hacks is more involved, but will ensure that your sensitive information is secure. Even the industries most seasoned veterans are vulnerable to such attacks. Mat Honan, a Wired senior tech reporter, lost over a year’s worth of photographs of his child after hackers infiltrated his Google and Amazon accounts. The Syrian Electronic Army allegedly hacked The Associated Press, The Financial Times and E! Online earlier this year. Internet companies responded to these violations by instituting a two-step verification process. Known as “two-factor authentication”, this system requires not only a user passcode, but an additional security code when logging in from an unknown device. This security code is usually sent to your cell phone via text.
Below are tips that explain the process of setting up this two-factor authentication for the applications you use most often such as Google, Evernote, Facebook and LinkeIn. In addition, there are extra tips to ensure your online security.
Enabling Facebook’s two-step verification is simple. Simply go to Settings > Security > Login Approvals and enter your cellphone number. Facebook will then text you a security code each time someone accesses your account from an unknown browser.
>TIP: This Login Approval will affect any apps that use your Facebook login as well (Skype, Xbox, Spotify, etc.). Type in the name of the app into the field “generate app password”. You need only enter this once.
Setting up your two-step verification with Google is also simple. In the top right-hand corner, click on the gear icon and go to Settings > Accounts > Change Account Settings and click on “Google Account Settings” link. On the left-hand column, click “Security” and select “Enabling two-step verification.”
>TIP: Third parties can access your private information such as what language you speak and your Gmail contacts. To block these privileges, click the “Review Permissions” link on your Security page. Another tab will open that lists your apps that currently have access to your Google information.
Twitter has been the victim of many hacks in the past year and to combat this problem, Twitter has instituted a two-step verification process. Access the Settings menu in Twitter by clicking on the Gear icon in the top right-hand corner. Scroll to “Account Security” and mark the “Require a verification code when I sign in” box. Your email address must be confirmed prior to this step and you must add a phone number to your Twitter account. You will then receive a message saying, “Twitter can send verification codes to this device!”. This verifies your number and the next time you log in, you can enter the six-digit code. After enabling your login verification, you will need a temporary password so you can access Twitter on any other devices you might have. Take note: Twitter’s temporary password is only good for one hour.
>TIP: Your tweets on Twitter do not have any location information attached to them unless you’ve enabled location information. If you are not comfortable with location information being public, disable this setting by doing the following: Go to Account > Tweet location. Uncheck “add a location to my Tweet” and click “Delete all location information.”
LinkenIn’s set up process for two-step verification is easy. Go to Account Settings and roll mouse over your profile icon. Click on “Privacy & Settings”, then click on the “Account Tab” and finally “Manage Security Settings.”
Because this app uses sensitive personal and professional information, a two-factor authentication is essential. Following in the footsteps of Twitter and Facebook, Evernote has adopted this two-step verification for its users. To enable, visit the Security section of your Evernote Account Setting online.
>TIP: Two-step verification is only available to Evernote Premium and Business Users at the time of this post.
To set up your two-step verification with Apple, open your My Apple ID page and select “Manage Your Apple ID”. Click on “Password and Security”, then select the “Get Started” option and follow the onscreen instructions. You will receive an email from Apple in 2-3 days with your steps to finalize your two-step verification.
>TIP: Apple will also send you a 14-digit Recovery Key. Keep this code if you ever forget your Apple password and can not access your devices.