There’s just no security to be had online anymore – hackers and viruses can this have their way with whatever online accounts you have and get away with it. Well, that’s where 2 factor authentication comes in. It’s one of the best ways you can make sure that your online accounts remain in your control.
First of all, what on earth is 2 factor authentication?
Well, here’s the thing – passwords are not as secure a thing as they used to be. Basically, if someone gets your password (probably because you named it after your dog), they can go waltz right in. If you have 2 factor authentication, that can’t be done.
Conceptually, it is simple enough. It asks you for two pieces of information – one of which is a password of course. The other is something like a secret temporary code that they send to your phone or something. Internet banking accounts universally use this.
If someone does get your Internet banking password and goes in, he still can’t move any money around because right away, the bank will send you a you a secret number on your cell phone that the Internet banking account will expect to see entered. Since the dishonest fellow doing this stuff doesn’t have access to your cell phone as well as your password (hopefully), he will not be able to do much damage.
So you are pretty clear now what 2 factor authentication is – it tries to make doubly sure.
Okay, so you can use this with your bank because your bank provides for this. You can’t use it anywhere else, can you? Well, without a doubt, the website you’re thinking of does need to implement 2 factor authentication for you to use it. But there are plenty of websites that are doing this now. Gmail does it for instance. Since most of us store a great deal of sensitive information on our e-mail accounts, it makes a lot of sense that we would want to do this.
They send a secret code to your cell phone, they have you enter that alongside of the password to go in. This isn’t turned on by default though – most people would be terribly annoyed at having to do jump through all the hoops. If you wish to enable this, you should go find the Using 2 Step Verification link that’s under Settings and then Security. Facebook has it too, as does Dropbox, WordPress and Amazon Web Services.