Whether you use Gmail, Yahoo or Microsoft email, they all offer a free service called “2-Step Verification” to help keep your account from being compromised by hackers.
Hackers are compromising email accounts and it’s making headlines, like this article just this week: http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/hundreds-millions-email-accounts-hacked-traded-online-says-expert-n568491
If you’re not familiar with 2-Step Verification, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The good news is it’s easy to use and, as mentioned, it’s free.
So what is this 2-Step Verification?
It simply means that you login as you normally would with your username and password (step 1), but then a second step is required afterwards where you have to provide a piece of information such as a randomly generated code.
These codes can be provided via text or through something like Google Authenticator: https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/1066447?hl=en
The codes are perishable, so simply guessing the code over and over again is pointless. There just isn’t enough return on investment for cyber criminals to spend that kind of time on trying to break into an email account.
For more information about 2-Step Verification from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, here are some resources:
Google 2-Step Verification: https://www.google.com/landing/2step/
Yahoo 2-Step Verification: https://help.yahoo.com/kb/SLN5013.html
Microsoft 2-Step Verification Directions: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2456405,00.asp
Once you’ve gotten familiar with 2-Step Verification for your email, you’ll find that it’s also possible to enable it in all kinds of other places. Check with your bank and see if they offer it.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – just about all major social media platforms now offer it too. Why not protect as many of your accounts as possible?
The last point to address on 2-Factor Verification is convenience. There’s no getting around it, this is another step to take. However, it is fairly simple and it’s certainly much more convenient than dealing with trying to get control of your account(s) back if they do become compromised.