Regular TechRepublic readers have probably noticed that we've been writing a lot of two-factor authentication how-to articles. We've covered Microsoft, Apple, and Google accounts so far and today we're adding Twitter to that list.
Two-factor authentication involves the use of a randomly generated single-use code along with a password to verify a user's identity. The code comes via text message or from an authentication app installed on a smartphone.
This second level of security is essential in the modern age. Hacks, phishing, and other methods of stealing passwords is rampant, and it's only getting worse.
Here's how to protect your Twitter account by turning on two-factor authentication, which Twitter calls "login verification."
SEE: Information security incident reporting policy (Tech Pro Research)
Enabling login verification for Twitter
You don't need to do anything in your Twitter mobile app, though you can enable login verification from there. For simplicity's sake this demo is using Twitter's website.
Start by logging into your account at Twitter.com. Once you're in click on your profile picture to open up the menu (Figure A). Click on Settings.
Click on Security And Privacy in the Settings menu and you should see the screen shown in Figure B. The top option is the one we're concerned with. If you already have a phone number associated with your account you can skip the next few steps and advance to the screen shown in Figure F. Otherwise you need to click on the Add A Phone link beneath the checkbox for login verification.
SEE: Essential follows: Information security experts on Twitter (TechRepublic)
Clicking on the link to add a phone number brings you to the screen shown in Figure C. Add your number, click Continue, and you'll see the Figure D screen. You may need to wait a minute or two for the text message to come to your phone, but once you do you'll get a six-digit code that you'll enter in this box.
After you enter it, you'll get confirmation that you added your number successfully (Figure E). You can also turn text message notification for Tweets on or off.
Head back over to Security And Privacy and click the checkbox for Verify Login Requests and the screen shown in Figure F will pop up. Click on Start and you'll be prompted to log in, which you can also see in Figure F.
Once you log in again you'll see the screen shown on the left of Figure G. Verify that your phone number is correct and click Send Code. Give Twitter a minute to send it and then add the six-digit code to the screen shown on the right of Figure G. Click Submit.
That's it! From now on you'll get a text message containing a six-digit code whenever you log into Twitter on the web or from a mobile app.
One last thing: Be sure you click Get Backup Code in the window that pops up after you click Submit. You'll get the screen shown in Figure H. Save your unique code as a screenshot or hard copy. You'll need it in case you ever lose access to your phone and can't get your verification code.
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Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.