Last week, I mentioned Google’s “2-Step Verification” and I received emails asking what is it, how does it work, is it the same as MFA, 2FA? Also, for help on setting it up. I do not usually give step-by-step instructions on how to make things work, but the number of emails I received has encouraged me to do so this time.
First off, what is it? 2-Step Verification, MFA (multifactor authentication), 2FA (two-factor authentication), and probably a couple of other similar terms are the same. It is an electronic authentication procedure where a computer user is given access to a website or application only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence (or factors) to the system.
For instance, with Google accounts, you can sign up for several ways to use 2-Step Verification. In your browser go to myaccount.google.com. Then, on the left side click on “Security.” Then scroll down to “Signing in to Google” and “2-Step Verification.”
There may be six or seven different ways to set it up. Google is one of the most used sites with 2FA and the most ways to set it up depending on your phone, computer and other devices. The first thing to do is to click the button to turn on 2-Step Verification. Then choose which type you want to use for the second step of the setup. I use a couple of them, but not all.
The first type in my selections is “Google prompts.” Keep in mind you may have one of the other choices first. What this does is to send a screen to your smartphone asking you “Yes” or “No,” are you currently trying to log into your Google account? Click one of the choices and you will be allowed or not allowed into your Google account depending on your answer.
Now for my favorite, “Voice or text message?” Cut this one on, enter your smartphone’s number, and get a sample six-digit code that you enter to verify your number. Then the next time you log into any of the Google apps it will text your phone a new code to enter. From then on when you are logging into any Google application you will need to prove it is you by entering the code texted to your phone.
It is easy to do and set up. Most importantly it secures your account better. When you log into it you must prove you are you from a different device. There are other ways to set up 2FA but Google is a good easy way to start. Almost every online application allows 2FA for security and I strongly suggest you use it.
Is it sometimes a hassle to go through the extra step? In my opinion, yes; however, if you do not want to be hacked, use it. Or you could be one of the people you see from time to time on Facebook saying you should ignore their comments since they were hacked. Use MFA, 2FA, or whatever you decide to call it. You will never regret it.