What would happen if someone got into your Spotify account? Or your Netflix account? They might listen to some music, mess up your playlists, change your watching patterns and mess up the recommendation algorithm.
Now what would happen if someone got into your social media account? Your email? Your LinkedIn? Someone could say some volatile remarks, ruin your reputation, or even harass others online in your name.
And if someone was able to get into your bank account, you can guess what kind of damage they can do.
This is the kind of thinking you need to do when considering taking new steps or adopting new tools that will make you more private or secure.
Take two-factor authentication, or 2FA, for example, an additional step we recommend adding to your log-in process that blocks 96% of phishing attacks and 100% of automated attacks. Using it, setting it up, and getting comfortable with 2FA takes some time so if you’re new to it, we recommend enabling it only on the accounts that really need securing.
How 2FA helps keep your important accounts secure
Bad hackers and scammers are always looking for the fastest and easiest way into an account. So that means going through the front door: a password. Either through automated tools, using passwords leaked from past data breaches, or trying passwords they know are linked to emails (a problem for password re-users), hackers will eventually succeed.
2FA puts a stop to all of that, even if they know your password. With 2FA, you’ll need an additional form of authentication, usually available on your phone, or a standalone tool if you really want to be secure. Hackers won’t have access to that, so they’ll be locked out of your account unless they have your device or access to your text messages, depending on what kind of 2FA you enable.
Turning on 2FA on your important accounts
Your most important accounts likely have some form of 2FA support, whether it’s SMS 2FA, authenticator app support, or security key support. You can usually find the option in settings, likely under security or privacy. If you really have trouble finding how to turn it on, you can Google “2FA” and the name of the service or company and you should be able to find a link to the page that lets you turn it on.
Some companies will also call 2FA, two-step sign on, or MFA. It’s all the same thing.
When you have 2FA on, logging onto your services will require an extra step, which can be a little annoying or inconvenient, especially as you get used to it. That’s why we recommend only enabling 2FA for the accounts that matter most. As you get more comfortable with it, you can use your best judgement on what kinds of other accounts are worth enabling 2FA on.
If you’re the kind of person that stays logged into your accounts or uses the ‘remember me’ feature many services offer when signing on, you’ll hardly even notice that 2FA is on. You log in once and don’t have to worry about it for a long time.
The protection, however, is still intact and 2FA makes a big difference as to whether a hacker will get into your accounts to steal your data, or move on to someone who doesn’t have the level of privacy and security you do. It may seem like a small step, but with 2FA, you get significant account protection.
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