How to enable 2-factor or multi-factor authentication (2FA or MFA)Alex Fields
Enabling a second factor for authentication is an important (and often very easy) thing to do. Usually this can be accomplished in just a few clicks for most websites and cloud services. It is highly recommended that you take the time to do this, especially for any accounts that are tied to online banking, financial institutions, and in general, any place that might have your personally identifiable information, SSN, other account numbers, etc. Especially consider it for your personal email accounts, to which many of these online identities are often tied, such as Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook.
Why it’s so damn important these days
What you’re really protecting yourself from here is compromised/leaked account credentials. If a provider gets hacked and their credential databases are leaked, you’re at risk. These kinds of hacks happen a lot more often than you think–check out haveibeenpwned.com for some good examples/evidence of this, and also to look up your own online identities.
Although it isn’t a perfect/guaranteed method for preventing all types of fallout/damage from attacks like this, it can go a really long way, as it means that a hacker now needs to break through an additional security barrier to get access to your accounts & information. This gives you some additional assurance, and extra time to react to the problem, change your passwords, etc.
Below, I am also including some of the big cloud providers, with instructions taken from their own how-to pages on 2FA. I have personal email accounts tied to all of these platforms.
Microsoft (Personal) e.g. Outlook.com, Live.com, etc.:
- Go to the Security settings page, and sign in with your Microsoft account.
- Under Two-step verification, choose Set up two-step verification to turn it on, or choose Turn off two-step verification to turn it off.
- Follow the instructions.
Google (e.g. Gmail, Play store):
- Go to the 2-Step Verification page. You might have to sign in to your Google Account.
- Select Get started.
- Follow the step-by-step setup process.
Yahoo (e.g. Yahoo mail, Flickr, Tumblr):
- Sign in to your Yahoo Account info page.
- Click Account Security.
- Next to Two-step verification, click the On/Off icon .
- Enter your mobile number.
- Click Send SMS to receive a text message with a code or Call me to receive a phone call.
- Enter the verification code | click Verify.
- The next window refers to the use of apps like iOS Mail or Outlook. Click Create app password to reconnect your apps.
Here is a great collection of many more how-to resources for enabling 2FA on cloud providers, online banks/financial institutions, social media platforms, and more! Knock yourself out, most of these don’t take long to do, and it is a very small thing that can go a long ways toward protecting you.
If you are an admin for Office 365 or Microsoft Work / School accounts…
I have an article on setting it up for your users here.