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Dual Factor Authentication

Two locks, one gray and one goldDual factor authentication (also referred to as two-factor, two-step, multi-factor authentication, verification or 2FA) is an overly technical-sounding term for a simple solution. On the Internet, a password is like the key to your house - it keeps all of your things safe, from your streaming movies to your banking information. These accounts contain a tremendous amount of personal and financial information, so you don't want that data falling into the wrong hands. That's why it's important to use all the security tools at your disposal to protect your account, such as dual-factor authentication.

Enabling these services adds an extra layer of protection to your accounts. Think of them as deadbolts to your online house. Combining something you know (your password) with something you have (your phone, etc.), makes your account even more secure.

It's a security tool that uses multiple verification techniques to prove that the person attempting to log onto an account is really them.

How to enable it

There's no universal method, but most web services that offer account protection beyond the password require the use of a phone, email account, etc.

Here's how many services typically work:

  • You enter a phone number or an alternate email. (This is a way for the online service to contact you when you want to access your account.)
  • The service provider generates and sends you a verification code. This code is only good for one use - otherwise it would be just like a password!
  • Once you receive the code, you enter it in, along with your username and password and gain access to your account.

Step-by-step instructions on some popular platforms

Email Providers

Social Networks

Additional tips on two step authentication