Though there are plenty of third party password managers to help you generate random passwords or keep your passwords safe, the newer (and growing) best defence against password hackers is two-step authentications (also called two-factor authentication).
With this, you still use your username and password to log in, but you also need that second step: often an SMS message of numbers that gets sent to your phone. Many of the more popular programs and companies, such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Dropbox, all offer this option. Apple ID and iCloud do, too.
It does require that extra step, though, which tends to make people shy away. However, it’s simple and quick and offers a lot of safety value, so opting to set it up should be a no brainer.
You don’t always have to use SMS, though. Some companies use their own app, that helps you generate a separate code or service that it already offers. Most, however, use a free third-party iOS app to generate the codes, where you have to log in, find their two-step authentication settings page, then use that into your account. Though it might seem confusing, each designated service describes how to follow it with ease.
Not surprisingly, Google was one of the first Internet companies that came to introduce the two-step verification process. It makes for a safe addition to securing your mail, calendar, drive, and other services, and it is easy to set up in two quick stages. First, users need to log in with their username and password. They then need to proceed to the second step, which requires the Google Authenticator application or a mobile phone, which applies the possession factor element to the process. If the user is using the Google authenticator, the user must open the application, which will automatically generate a new code (and continues to do so every 30 seconds). This code will be reentered in their log-in to finish the process. Users can also print this single use backup code and store them to log in at a later time. If the user chooses the mobile phone option instead, then the user will register and enter his or her phone number with Google once they are logged in. When the username and password are entered and need to be authenticated, Google will then send an SMS or text message harboring a unique and new code directly to the phone. Because the user who entered the phone number should have the phone that they registered, they can use the code to log into the account.
Aside from Google, it is likely that those who have an Apple account will also begin to use their new two-step verification process. And like everything with Apple, it’s not just for the tech-savvy and an easy process to use. After users log in at iCloud’s website, they then go to their Account settings, then enter their ID, then click on the area that says Manage Your Apple ID. Once the user has signed in, they then will click on Password and Security. Here they will answer past security questions, then click on the button that says Get Started. Apple will then send the user a code via SMS or text message. The user will enter this in the allotted boxes, then click on Submit. This will give them a chance to verify everything linked to their account, including regular activity.
Quick and easy, adding this option to your email addresses, important storage spaces, and private documents is becoming increasingly important for keeping you secure on the internet.