Tutorials Setting Up 2 Factor Authentication

Summary of the tutorial

This tutorial will explain 2FA (2 Factor Authentication), why you should use it, and how to set it up.

2 Factor Authentication

Two Factor Authentication

Two factor authentication is a technology that takes online security to a whole new level. Why would you want it?

There are two problems with the current common method of password security.

1. Most people use simple passwords that are easy for them to remember, and they are neither long enough, nor complex enough to be secure. Then they use the same password across multiple sites. If one site gets compromised, the bad guy knows that this password will work everywhere.

2. Although you may be very strict about your security protocols, and may deploy very difficult passwords, this isn’t good enough anymore, because even at 30 characters long, if a hacker hacks the website, in many cases, they now have your password anyway.

So how do we protect ourselves if the bad guys can just steal our passwords?

Enter two factor authentication! When you attempt to log into a website, you are prompted for your password. If the website thinks that your login looks suspicious, it will then send a text message to your phone, or to an email address with a special code created just for that moment in time. Alternatively, you can use an app to generate the code, which is what this tutorial will show. Once you enter that code, you are now authenticated, because even if someone stole your password, they wouldn’t have been able to get the text message! So the password is 1 factor, and this special code is the second factor. Without the second factor, there is no access to the account, even with a correct password.

The reason I recommend using an app rather than getting sent an email with the code is because with an app, the code absolutely cannot be intercepted.

This tutorial will outline how to set up two factor authentication via an app on an iPhone. This app also exists for Android and Windows phones, and you would just search the respective app stores for it.

1. Open the app store on your mobile device of choice, and (if its an iPhone) you will see the image below.

2. Select GET, and once it is downloaded, click on open, and the app will be installed.
3. Locate the icon and open the app. You will see the screen below. There is no login to perform.

4. In your case, you will not see any of the rows of numbers seen above, because you have not set anything up yet. To set up your email or other account for this app, you will proceed online with your computer to the site you want to protect with 2FA. Go to security settings and you will find the area to set it up. Once there, you will be presented with a QR code. This is what a QR code looks like.

5. Once that is on the screen, go back to your app, and click on the + sign at the top right of the app screen, and you will see a menu appear at the bottom, as seen below.

6. Tap Scan barcode, and your app will use your device’s camera to look at the QR code on your computer screen. Place the QR code within the green box on your screen, and once recognized, it will automatically be entered in your app, and that is how the lines get there.

7. Every time that you do this with a different account, you will get another line in the app for that particular account.

Now that this is set up, any time you are asked for your code, you simply open your app and enter the six digit code found there, into the box on the screen of your computer.

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