2nd reminder this week: set up two-factor verification for internet

TIP OF THE WEEK

Secure your online accounts (really this time)

Speaking of stirring strong emotions, Brian X. Chen, the consumer technology columnist for The New York Times, is here with advice on stepping up your digital security.

This week President Biden shared his prediction that Russia would soon invade Ukraine [www.nytimes.com/2022/01/19/us/politics/biden-putin-russia-ukraine.html], whose computer networks have recently been the target of a far-reaching cyberattack. It’s unclear what this all means for the United States, but security experts have warned that Ukraine had been a testing ground for Russia’s cyberattacks [www.nytimes.com/2022/01/16/us/politics/microsoft-ukraine-cyberattack.html], meaning the same attacks could eventually reach Americans.

That’s all hypothetical right now, but it’s another good reminder to beef up the protection of your online accounts. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to make sure your online accounts are signed up for two-factor authentication; this adds a step to verify that you are who you say you are. Even if a password falls into the hands of the wrong people, they cannot pretend to be you.

In a past column [www.nytimes.com/2019/03/27/technology/personaltech/two-step-authentication.html], I covered various methods for setting up two-factor authentication. One of the strongest setups involves using an authenticator app.

Here’s an example of how to set up an authenticator app with Facebook:

On your phone, go to your app store and download a free authenticator app, like Google Authenticator [https://apps.apple.com/us/app/google-authenticator/id388497605] or Authy [https://apps.apple.com/us/app/authy/id494168017] [my addition: or Microsoft Authenticator]. 

Then, on Facebook’s website, go to your security and login settings [https://www.facebook.com/settings]. Click “use two-factor authentication,” and then click “edit.” Choose the option for an authentication app as your security method. From here, follow the onscreen instructions.

From now on, whenever you log in to Facebook, you can open the authenticator app and look at the temporary six-digit code generated for your Facebook account. You must enter this code in order to log in.

Setting up two-factor authentication on all your online accounts is a hassle. But after you set it up the first time, it’s a breeze. Prioritize your most sensitive information, like your online banking accounts.

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