Two-factor authentication is a needlessly complex sounding name for a very simple way to secure your email, social media, and most other online accounts. While two-factor authentication technically means you have two layers of security protecting your account – typically, one a password, and the second is usually a one-time password (OTP). So most people who talk about two-factor authentication are usually taking about OTPs. Once you’ve enabled this additional layer of security on your account, you’ll get an OTP via text message or an authenticator app whenever you log in to your Gmail or Twitter account, for instance. This means even if someone finds out what your password is, they won’t be able to log in to your account because they won’t have access to the one-time password. It’s always good to have an extra layer of security when it comes to online accounts. Every other day we hear about people’s accounts being hacked online and enabling two-factor authentication is one way to make things difficult for miscreants.
How to use Google Authenticator app to add two-factor authentication
- Open Google’s two-factor authentication page.
- Enter your password as and when prompted. You’ll reach the landing page for two-factor authentication. Click Get Started.
- Enter the phone number you want to use for OTP. This is just in case the authenticator app isn’t accessible. Click Next.
- Enter the one-time password sent to your phone. Click Next.
- Click Turn on.
- This enables two-factor authentication via SMS on your Google account. Now scroll down and click Setup under Authenticator app.
- In the pop-up, select the type of phone you have – Android or iPhone.
- Now you’ll see a QR code on the screen. You can either scan this or click Can’t scan it to get a code for two-factor authentication. This is where you’ll have to switch to your smartphone.
- Download Google Authenticator on Android or iOS.
- Tap Begin Setup.
- Tap Scan barcode. This will fire up the camera on your smartphone and you can point that at the QR code on the computer screen. Alternatively, you can tap Manual entry and enter the code on the screen.
- On the Google two-factor authentication page, click Next.
- Enter the code on your authenticator app and click Verify.
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