The shopping season is upon us. Many IT-centric folk tend to do the majority of their shopping on-line, which means a lot of visits to Amazon.com. Whether you're hopping onto the site via your desktop, laptop, or mobile device...security is a risk. Why? Because most people still rely solely on the old username/password form of authentication.
It is time you jettison that old school way of thinking and adopt the new form...two step authentication. Google added this feature long ago and it's become an effective way to stop nefarious users from breaking into Google accounts. Amazon has finally stepped up its game and added two step authentication.
You should immediately set this up.
How does it work?
If you're unfamiliar with two step authentication, it's actually quite simple to understand. You still have your username/password that you've been using for years. The main difference is, once you've entered that information, you will then be prompted for a one-time-use, six-digit code that then gains you entrance to your account. If you don't have that code, you cannot authenticate.
What makes this even more secure is there are only two ways of getting the authentication code:
- Via SMS message
- Via an authenticator app
Oddly enough, Amazon doesn't offer its own authenticator app. Instead, you will have to use an app like Authy to take on the task.
Let's walk through the process of setting up two step authentication with Amazon.
Setting it up
The steps for setting up this security feature are quite easy:
- Log into your Amazon account from a web browser
- Click on the Account drop-down | Your Account
- Under Settings, click Change Account Settings
- Log in again
- Scroll down to Advanced Security Settings and click Edit
- When prompted, click Get Started
- In the next window, select to receive codes via text or an authenticator app (Figure A)
- If you select SMS, enter your phone number and click Send Code
- If you select an authenticator, you will have to launch the app and then have it scan the displayed bar code
- If you select an authenticator, you will then have to enter the given code displayed by the authenticator and click Verify code
- When prompted, you must enter a backup method (which is the option you didn't select earlier)
Select your preferred method for two step authentication.
That's it! You've successfully set up two step authentication on your Amazon account. The chances of someone breaking in and gaining access to your information has been significantly reduced.
When two step authentication is available for a site or service that holds sensitive data, it should not be considered, in any way, optional. This is a must do. Anyone that regularly shops on Amazon should immediately set up two step authentication to prevent unwanted users from gaining access to your account.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.