Twitter's 2-Step Authentication: How Does It Protect You?
Twitter's two-step authorization has finally come to town.
It's about time, too. From the Associated Press to The Onion, to E! Online, to celebrities, and then of course all the way down to the rest of any of us tweeters, it seems as though nobody on Twitter is safe from being hacked. It happens, and it happens often.
But what exactly is this new Twitter two-step authentication feature? And how will it protect you from being hacked?
How It Works
Two-step authorization is exactly what it sounds like. Twitter users logging in will have to verify their identity twice before they're able to successfully get into their accounts. Before this, it was just a matter of typing in your password.
Now, Twitter is adding that extra layer of authorization by requiring users to enter a unique code, sent via SMS text message. The phone number it'll be sent to will be the one that you entered when the account was first created.
This second step won't be required every time you open up a Twitter tab. Rather, it will be asked of you every time you log out and log back in. This will not affect apps that you've connected to Twitter. Apps will still require a one-time password.
How It Protects You
By adding that extra layer of verification, Twitter is ensuring that whoever enters your account is actually the authorized person to do so. This will also help to ensure that a number of factors that trigger hacks are minimized, such as:
- Phishing. Phishing, or fishing for confidential information, is basically what many types of spam mail are: mass emails sent out in an effort to fraudulently obtain your personal information (in this case, your Twitter password).
- Spear-phishing. Spear-phishing is a more targeted form of phishing. Essentially, they are fake emails addressed to you or your company that deceive the user by adding tailored, fake personal touches that often make them then seem like they are legitimate.
- Identity theft. This occurs every day, and everyone is susceptible to it. But with two-factor authentication, even if a hacker is using your email address, he won't be able to log in to your Twitter account without the code that's sent to your phone.
There are of course still some inevitable kinks that need to work out with Twitter's latest feature -- multiple users on the same Twitter account, for one, and how that can be verified. But, the newest security enhancement will at the very least give users some added protection.
- We Asked and We Received: Twitter Gets Two-Factor Authentication (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Steps You Should Take in Preventing Identity Theft (FindLaw)
- Twitter Hacking: 5 Ways To Prevent It (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- AP Twitter Hack Spurs 'Spear-Phishing' Alert (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)