Many people are anxious nowadays about hackers. Slate.com ran a story recently discussing Matt Honan’s, a writer for Wired Magazine, experiences with being hacked. In August, Honan’s Apple account was hacked, and all of the information on his iPhone, iPad, and Macbook was erased. Moreover, the hacker deleted his Google account and hijacked his Twitter account, employing it to post racist and obscene remarks. One thing this story puts into sharp focus is the fact that anyone can get hacked.
Luckily, there are a few steps people can take that will safeguard themselves against being hacked. One of these is Google’s two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication is a method to protect your accounts by requiring you to type in a code after you enter the password for your accounts. This might seem unneeded, but if you only have one password guarding your accounts, this is not enough to discourage hackers today. Two-factor authentication can be the difference between your accounts being hacked and keeping your accounts protected.
How it works
Google has now enabled two-factor authentication for its accounts. If you own a smartphone, you can install Google’s authenticator app on the device. Then when you log onto a Google account, you enter in both your password and the code displayed on your smartphone, a code that you alone, of course, ought to be seeing.
If you don’t own a smartphone, you can still use Google’s two-factor authentication system. You can simply wait for Google to send you a text or voicemail message that contains the code you need to complete the login process.
Not widely used
Unfortunately, as the Slate story mentions, not many people are using two-factor authentication today. The reason? It’s kind of of an inconvenience. Most consumers want to access their accounts quickly and easily, and entering an extra code, or waiting for a text, is not something they enjoy. But as Honan’s story proves, any step that can stop hackers is one that you need to think about. Yes, it might take you a couple of seconds longer to log onto your accounts, but isn’t the extra protection that two-step authentication provides worth this small hassle?