Two factor authentication (2FA) is a concept which involves taking your current level of security on Twitter, which is your password, and adding another layer on top of that. It’s easy to set up and use, but does have some problems that I’ll address at the end of the article.
This extra layer of security may not have received as much mention with Twitter users as the redesign, but it may help prevent you from being part of the next “Twitter was Hacked – Again!” headline.
Two Factor Authentication on Twitter: How to Set it Up
Twitter has a history of being hacked. After much public outcry, and finally admitting that a higher level of security was needed, Twitter finally introduced two factor authentication. Here is a step by step guide to set it up for your Twitter account:
- Log into your Twitter account as normal.
- Click on the gear in the upper right hand corner and select Settings.
- From your Settings page, enter into the Security and Privacy tab from the left hand side menu.
- Select “Send login verification requests to my phone.” If you haven’t already added a phone number, you’ll have to go to the Mobile tab and do so first.
- Send a text message to the number 89338.
- Wait for the reply that confirms activation.
- Click on Yes to test if you’ve activated your phone.
- Enter your Twitter password again.
A second option that you may have seen below “Send login verification requests to my phone.” It would have read “Send login verification requests to the Twitter app.” This feature gives you a code which you can write don and keep on you incase you lose your phone, your phone battery is dead, or if you are in area where you have no cell reception.
From that same Security and Privacy tab, select it and a Confirm enrollment screen will come up. Take a screenshot or write down this backup code. This is your ‘just in case’ fall-back plan.
Two factor authentication: what’s wrong with it
If you paid close attention to everything going on you would have seen that you’re now signing up to have Twitter push notifications sent to your phone. Can you imagine now having a vibration or annoying sound played EVERY time a new tweet comes in?
This can be turned off easily enough by going to the sleep option in your phone and selecting midnight to midnight as your time frame. Be sure that your phone supports this sleep function as once you turn Twitter push notifications on, it is difficult to turn them off again.
Beyond that practical problem, there are two other issues that you should be aware of. First, not every mobile carrier supports this service. Here’s a list of who does.
Second, not every SMS you send is secure, there are weaknesses in the mobile world like anywhere else. While your Twitter account may not be bulletproof, it will now certainly have an extra layer of protection that makes it less of an enticing target for hackers.