Practical Technology

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How to use Google two-factor authentication


Do you really think security is too much trouble? That no one is ever going to bother with your accounts? Ask former Gizmodo employee Mat Honan if he feels that way after his accounts and devices were wiped clean. That could have been you, and it could have been worse. There are several ways to try to protect your online accounts and one of the more important of these is two-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication is ancient IT technology. If you’ve ever worked in a shop that required you both to show an ID card and enter a pin to go through a door, you’ve used it. As the name suggests it requires you to both show you know something, typically a password, and have a unique item that identifies you. On the Web, two-factor authentication typically requires you have both a password and a phone with its unique number, which can be used as the item.

Since Google played a role in the Honan case and almost everyone uses some Google service or the other–and Apple doesn’t support two-factor authentication—let’s go over how to turn on Google’s version of two-factor authentication:  two-step verification.

How to use Google two-factor authentication. More >

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