I have written a few posts about online security, and how it’s not hard to do, but incredibly important.
I am a strong believer in the use of password managers, whichever you choose, to protect your passwords, and more.
Your password is the most common single point of failure between you and the hacker gaining access to your online accounts.
Which, of the above would you prefer to lose your password to? None of them, right?
Your email account is, effectively, the gateway to your entire online life - this is the one that, if mis-used, could cost you big; financially and emotionally.
I always advocate the use of strong, unique passwords. Yes - unique. Each account should have a different password, so that if one account is compromised, the others are safe.
A password manager is the way to go here; it can save your passwords securely; it can even suggest passwords to use, so you know that it's unique.
However - there is another step you can take to make your accounts even more secure.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), which is also known as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
It sounds more confusing than it is - in fact, you probably already do it, but just don't know it.
So - what is it?
2FA is a method of logging into an online account where you don't just use your login and password, but also a second form of identity. This is usually in the form of a code - either created via an app on your mobile phone, or sent by email or text.
In other words, once you've entered your password, the online service will then request a code. A code that only you can provide.
Therefore, if your password is compromised, no-one can access your account without the secondary code.
Many services now offer the ability to 'turn on' two-factor authentication, and whilst it may slow down your access, at least you know it's secure.
You can use Google Authenticator app to create the codes, or you can use something like LastPass Authenticator.
When you launch the app, and you successfully log in (I use face ID) then you're presented with a list of all your codes.
Just find the one for the account you are accessing and enter it into the relevant box on the login page.
The codes are only valid for about 30 seconds, before they re-generate. This means, if you don't use it within that time, the login will fail. Another layer of protection.
The other way you might use 2FA is through email or SMS.
Here's an example of a text message that might be received, with the code to enter. Using a text message is not always as secure as one generated in the app, but it's at least better than not doing anything.
Some websites send a code via email.
All you need to do is go to the Account profile of the site, or the settings and enable Two-Factor Authentication and you'll be prompted on the steps to take.
It's a simple but very effective way to secure your online accounts.
You can view a short animation about this on the website
If you fancy taking two-factor authentication for a test run, then try LastPass for free, to see how it will enhance your online security.
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