Tech4Life: Security vs Convenience

Certainly, security can be a pain.  Having to remember multiple, long, complicated passwords is stressful for some.

Yet, as stressful as it is, passwords are not necessarily enough to protect your important data.  Enter two factor authentication.  Two factor authentication (2FA), in effect, adds another level of security for your data.

At its best, 2FA requires both a knowledge requirement such as a password along with a possession requirement such as a code sent to a mobile phone.  With 2FA, if a hacker gains access to your passwords, they are still unable to enter your online accounts without the mobile phone code.

This is similar to what happens at an ATM.  If a thief gains possession of your bank card, it is relatively useless without knowing your PIN.

Fortunately, many popular website sites offer this extra level of security and offer it for free.  Popular email sites like GMail, Yahoo! and Hotmail (now Outlook) have all implemented optional 2FA.  Cloud based storage and collaboration sites like Dropbox and Evernote have also provided this option.

Social media sites tend to store public data - images, comments, videos and other content often posted for public consumption.  Yet, they remain a target for hackers as they also host something most valuable - reputation.  As many celebrities have found, hackers may use their social media accounts to post unfavorable content.  So, even social media sites must be protected with 2FA.  Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and LinkedIn, among others, all offer the extra layer of security.

Each site offers 2FA in different ways, so consider which sites you need to protect and then visit the site to that site to follow their instructions.

It wouldn’t hurt to use the opportunity to change and strengthen your passwords to add extra “umph” to your enhanced security and be safe online.

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