two-stepThe bad guys must be having an impact on web services everywhere.  We hear about it, and we see the phishing scams show up in our email, but is internet security really that big of a deal?

YES!  (and heck yes!)

The reason I say the bad guys  must be having an impact is that in the last few days, I’ve had pointed requests from two tried-and-true web services (both used by 10’s of millions) to agree to two-step verification of my identity.

Banks went to this a couple of years ago, and I was glad.  But now, Evernote, and Zoho (my email service) and many other services that require a username/password sign-on are going to the 2-step verification.

What makes 2-step verification a breeze these days mostly turns on the fact that technology is seamless, and everyone but everyone carries their smartphone with them these days.

What makes you WANT 2-step verification, are the horror stories of people who’ve had their identity stolen, or at least their most-used passwords.

Basically, it works like this for the user (it’s a lot more complicated under the surface):

  • You go to your log-in page
  • Enter your username and password
  • The service then asks you for a verification code (you get this either as an SMS text on your phone, or through another process I explain below)
  • Enter the verification code
  • Begin using your program

In most cases, setting up 2-step verification comes on your radar, ’cause your service puts up a big notice on your computer screen or sends you an email notice (be careful, though, this can be a phishing scam too!).  You can also go to “settings” in most programs or check in the FAQ’s to find out more.google2-step

The setup is usually dead simple, and this is where (guess who?) Google comes in as a big player.  Google has devised the “Google Authenticator”.  Go to the Google Authenticator page for more.  You can also download the Google authenticator on your iOS or Android device.  It works like a charm.

With Zoho and Evernote, I had the choice of using the Google Authenticator method, or the method offered by Zoho or Evernote themselves to complete the 2-step set-up.  Either way, it involves pulling out your cell phone — noting the code you’re being sent — and entering it in the dialog box of the service asking for the verifier.

If you choose the Google Authenticator, be sure to download the app first in your iPhone, iPad, or Android device, ’cause the process asks you to scan a QR code with the app.

Tw0-step verification is available for almost every program that means something to you:  all Google products (Gmail, YouTube, etc), and other cloud accounts, like DropBox and Box.net.  Social Media accounts too.  Again, just check in the settings or FAQ’s.

Again, this process is dead simple if you can follow directions… much easier than setting up — for example — Source-Connect.  So if you can do THAT, you can do the Two-Step!

CourVO

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