How many social media accounts do you log into every day? If you’re like most people, you probably log into at least one.
Think about how much personal information is stored on these accounts. Sure, your password helps keep your information out of the wrong hands, but even passwords are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Fortunately, there is a way to make your social media accounts even more secure: two factor identification (or authentication).
We specialize in cybersecurity in Miami, and we always recommend using two-factor identification whenever possible to help protect your social media accounts.
What is Two Factor Identification?
Two factor identification is a way of verifying that you really are who you say you are when logging into an account.
If you only use a username and password to log into an account, then you’re essentially using single-factor authentication.
With two factor identification, you need your password and another piece of key information to log into an account. That second piece of information may be:
- A one-time code sent to your email address or in a text message.
- A code from an authenticator app. These apps also generate one-time codes, but they’re safer than email or text because they're not susceptible to SIM card swap attacks or email hacks.
- A security key. These are physical devices that use encryption to verify that the key is associated with your account. They may connect via USB or through near-field communication (NFC).
If you don’t have both pieces of information, you won’t be able to log into your account.
How Does Two Factor Identification Work?
Two factor identification sounds complicated, but it’s actually very simple. Yes, it adds an extra step to logging into your account, but it may also prevent a hacker from getting access to your social media account.
To give you an idea of how two factor identification works, let’s look at an example.
Let’s say that you set up two factor identification on your Facebook account. Each time you log into your account, you have to enter both your password and a code that’s sent to your phone in a text message.
- First, you’ll enter your username and password.
- Next, you’ll be prompted to enter the one-time code sent in a text message.
You’ll only be able to log into your account if you have both your password and your code. So, if a hacker has your password and they try to log in, they won’t be able to access your account unless they also have access to your smartphone.
Along with helping protect your account from cyberattacks, two-factor identification can alert you to suspicious activity. If you receive a one-time code and you’re not trying to log into your account, you know that someone else is trying to log in.
Many social networks offer two factor identification, but it’s not enabled by default. In order to activate this feature, you will need to check your account settings. Two factor authentication can go by a few names:
- Two-factor authentication
- Multi-factor authentication
- Two-step verification
Look for any variations of these terms in your account settings and activate it to start protecting your social media accounts. It’s worth the time and effort to help protect your personal information and identity.