Tech Tip Tuesday

I recently upgraded to an Apple iPhone 6 Plus 16GB. Through the upgrade process, I did some research on my web services and related apps that support two-factor authentication (more info here).

Basically, two-factor authentication requires your user name and password, along with some second method, to verify your login to a service. Some services send a text message to your mobile phone with a code to enter after you log in with a user name and password. There are apps available for secondary authentication as well. The trick for me was making sure I could login to those services after changing phones.

I use a fairly typical assortment of online services. For example, I use Gmail (personal email), Dropbox (personal files), Evernote (reference material), and Dashlane (password manager). I had two-factor authentication turned on for most of these services, using the Google Authenticator – Google, Inc. as the secondary authentication device. This app allows you to log in with a password and enter a numeric code generated by the app as the secondary layer of protection.

Before changing phones, I disabled two-factor authentication in all services listed in my Google Authenticator (GA) app on my old phone. I then deleted the GA app from the old phone. After I had the new phone up and running, I reinstalled the GA app on the new phone and enabled the two-factor authentication in the various services.

All in all, secondary authentication is generally straightforward to set up. It does take some time to log in to each web service or app and enable the additional security, but I recommend taking the time to enable it where it is available. While nothing is completely secure, two-factor authentication is another step to help secure your data online.

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