• Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert

How You Can Set up Two Factor Authentication to Protect Your Devices and Online Accounts

Updated: Apr 5



Any online account you have is at risk of being hacked. It doesn't matter if it's social media, financial or an email account, if you can log on to any computer or device to access it, means that any cybercriminal can get access to it as well. Numerous large-scale data breaches and theft of tech devices over the years have forced big tech companies to create a system that will help keep your online accounts safe. Strong passwords are always a must, but 2 Step or Two-factor authentication is a must for anyone who has an online or Internet-based account. Not sure how this feature can keep your information safe on the web? Read on to see how to enable it for your web-based accounts.


How does two-factor authentication work? Two Factor Authentication or 2FA it's a method that is an extra step in security when you're logging into your devices or online accounts. When you enable it, you'll be asked to enter your password as usual. Once you do, you'll receive a verification code in an email, phone call, or text message asking you to confirm that you are the one logging into your account. The confirmation is a code that you will need to enter into your account. This "2nd Step" is a layer of protection is designed to keep cybercriminals from signing in to your accounts, even if they have your password.


Most banks and other financial institutions already have 2FA configured, so you won't have to worry about setting it up. If you don't have to complete several steps to log into your financial accounts you should contact your bank or credit card company immediately. For all of your other online accounts and devices, here’s how to enable 2FA.


Apple Devices:


iOS. If you're using iOS 10.3 or higher go to Settings > [Your Name] > Password & Security. Turn on 2FA to receive a text message with a code each time you log in. For those using iOS 10.2 or earlier, the settings are under iCloud > Apple ID > Password & Security.


macOS. If you’re using Big Sur or Catalina, click the Apple icon on the upper-left corner of your screen, then click System Preferences > Apple ID. Click on Password & Security under your name, and then select “Turn On Two-Factor Authentication.” If you're using Mojave and earlier, after you click the Apple icon, click System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details. (You can shorten this step a bit by typing in “iCloud” using Spotlight.) Click on Security, and you’ll see the option to turn 2FA on.


Microsoft Devices:

You can password protect your devices, but you can only enable 2FA for your Microsoft account. This is important as your Microsoft account includes access to OneDrive, Outlook email To get started, log in to your Microsoft account and find the “Security settings” menu. Look for the “Two-step verification” section and click on the link for setup.


When setting up Two-Factor Authentication for your online accounts, you'll find the process is different for the website and the app.


Facebook:

On iOS and Android devices, click on the menu in the upper-right corner and scroll down to the bottom to find the “Settings & Privacy” menu. Tap on “Settings” > “Security and Login” and scroll down to “Use two-factor authentication.” From the website, click the down arrow in the upper-right corner, and select “Settings & Privacy” > “Privacy Shortcuts.” Look for the “Account Security” heading and click on “Use two-factor authentication.”


Instagram:

To activate 2FA on the Instagram app, head over to your profile and click the hamburger menu in the upper-right corner. Look for “Settings” > “Security,” where you’ll find a menu item for Two-Factor Authentication. To turn on 2FA from the Instagram website, log in and head to your profile. Next to your profile name and the Edit Profile button, there is a gear icon. Clicking this will pop open a settings menu, where you can find the same Privacy and Security section as on the app. From here, you can turn on 2FA.


Twitter:

On the Twitter app, tap the three-line “hamburger” icon at the top left of the screen and find the “Settings and privacy” selection. Go to “Account” > “Security.” Click on “Two-factor authentication” and follow the directions. On the Twitter website, click on “More” in the left-hand menu and find “Settings and privacy.” Click on “Security and account access” (or you can just follow this link). Select “Security” > “Two-factor authorization.”


Whatsapp:

Open up WhatsApp, and find the Settings menu under the upper-right corner. Look under “Account” > “Two-step verification” > “Enable.” Additionally, this app will ask you to enter a six-digit PIN to use as verification and optionally add an email address in case you forget your PIN.


Snapchat:

From the app’s main camera screen, tap your profile icon and find the gear icon to access your settings. Select “Two-Factor Authentication”.


Amazon:

Setting up 2FA will help protect your Amazon account as well as any smart home devices from getting hacked. From the Amazon website, heard over to “Accounts & Lists” and click on “Account.” A box labeled “Login & security” will be at the top of the page; click on that and then click the Edit button on “Two-Step Verification Settings.” From your Apple or Android devices, activate 2FA by tapping the hamburger menu on the left side and finding “Your Account” > “Login & security.” The same “Two-Step Verification (2SV) Settings” selection should be available for you to edit and toggle on 2FA.


Google:

Turning on 2FA will take care of all of your Google accounts like Gmail, YouTube, or Google App. The best place to start is heading to https://www.google.com/landing/2step/Log into your Google account, then follow the steps.


Dropbox:

From your Dropbox homepage on the web, click your profile icon to get to Settings; then go to the Security tab. Find Two-Step Verification; it will tell you the status of your 2FA.


Paypal:

On the main page, click the gear icon and find the Security tab. Look for the section called “2-step verification” and click on the Setup link.


Nest Smart Home:

From the home screen, go to Settings > Account > Manage account > Account security, and select two-step verification. Toggle the switch to on.


Ring Devices:

Swipe over from the left, then go to “Account” > “Two-Factor Authentication” under “Enhanced Security”. Tap the big “Turn on two-factor” button.


If I didn't cover your device or app, visit TwoFactorAuth.org to find out how to turn on 2FA on your favorite app or device. While adding 2FA on your accounts is a much need layer of protection for your accounts, don't forget you need to use strong passwords and update them from time to time to make sure your tech stays safe and out of the hands of criminals.


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Want to ask me a tech question? Send it to burton@burtonkelso.com. I love technology. I've read all of the manuals and I'm serious about making technology fun and easy to use for everyone. 


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