Twitter introduced a new security feature Wednesday that, if enabled on user accounts, will go a long way toward preventing said accounts from being compromised by hackers or “phishers.”
Two-factor authentication is the new feature, and it works by requiring a verification code in addition to a user’s password before access is granted to a user account. Verification codes are sent to a user’s cell phone by text message when a user tries to log in.
Two-step authentication already is a security feature available with Facebook and Google, and makes it extremely difficult for anyone trying to gain access to an account to do so without access to the user’s smartphone. Twitter adding the feature is something that should be embraced by users given the high profile instances of Twitter accounts being hacked and used for nefarious purposes in recent months.
To enable two-factor authentication with Twitter, a user simply needs to navigate to his/her account page, and click on the check box next to “Account security”. If the user’s mobile phone isn’t already associated with a Twitter account, the user will go through the process of making that link.
Users who aren’t already using two-step authentication on Google and Facebook can find information about enabling those services here for Google, and here for Facebook. While Twitter’s security feature works by sending authentication codes via SMS, Google’s two-step security involves downloading a mobile app, “Google Authenticator” to a user’s smartphone that generates a six-digit code to be used whenever an unknown device attempts to access an account, and Facebook gives users the option of receiving an SMS code whenever a new computer attempts to log in, or to generate a code through the Facebook mobile app.