Two-step authentication (2FA): what it is and how to activate it


With the increase in scams and computer crimes of all kinds in recent times, security has become a priority when browsing the Internet. We have already learned to use strong passwords that combine letters, numbers and symbols and change them from time to time, but with  two-step authentication (2FA) , we can add an extra layer of security to our accounts.

What is two-step authentication


Two-step authentication, also known as two-factor authentication (or 2FA), is a system that adds a new level of security to accounts through double identification.  

This double identification consists of providing the usual password and a second proof to verify your identity, which is usually a code sent to your mobile phone . There are also other methods to perform this second verification, such as security questions, authentication apps or biometric factors. 

What is two-step authentication for?

Two-factor authentication is an extra security measure that primarily serves to protect online accounts from theft attempts . With this double verification, we make it much more difficult for a hacker to access other people’s accounts, even if he has found out the password. 

What types of two-step authentication exist

There are different methods to perform two-factor authentication. Below we mention the most popular ones:

  • Two-step verification by SMS:  after entering your username and password, a temporary code will be sent to you by SMS.

  • Verification by email:  after indicating your username and password, a temporary password is sent to email.

  • Security question:  after entering your username and password, you will have to answer one or more questions that you have previously configured.

  • Authentication applications:  after entering your username and password, a temporary code will be generated in your authentication app. This is one of the safest methods to protect an online account. Some of the most used apps are Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, Duo or Authy.

  • Codes in the app itself:  similar to the previous method, but the code is generated in the app itself of the account you want to access.

  • Security Keys:  Create a USB, NFC, or Bluetooth security key to access all your accounts on a given device.

  • Recovery codes:  it is a code that the service generates and that you must write down or print to have on hand when they ask for it.

  • Biometric authentication:  Access your accounts using biometric factors such as fingerprint or facial recognition.

How to activate two-step authentication

On the most important online platforms, double authentication factor is now available (Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon…) so, if you have not done so already, we recommend that you activate it as soon as possible.

Although the way to do it may vary slightly from one to another, in most cases you will find the option to activate two-factor authentication in the security settings, therefore, you must go to Account > Settings > Security > Two-factor authentication Steps .