In short, two-step verification provides you with another layer of defense to protect your online account(s).
Normally, when you sign-in to an online account you’re presented with a login screen. This screen is a form asking you to provide your credentials in the form of a username and password. Once filling in these requirements you’ll be able to click a login button and you’ll have access to your account. This was done in just one step.
A Quick Overview of Two-Step
With two-step verification, the process is very much the same as outlined above, except when you click login you’ll need to complete another step to verify that you are who you say you are. This is done by providing a random verification code, which is provided to you based on how you selected to obtain the code or you may not have a choice and need to use the method the service provider (your online account) is equipped to handle. Once you type in the correct code and submit you’ll then have access to your account.
From now on, each time you try to login into your account, you’ll need to provide a new random verification code.
Most of the time Two-Step verification isn’t available out-of-box. You’ll need to see if it is available for your online account(s) and enable it.
Below is just a small sample of websites that offer Two-Step verification and a link to an instructional guide:
- Google – https://www.google.com/landing/2step/
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/help/148233965247823
- Twitter – https://support.twitter.com/articles/20170388
- Microsoft – https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12408/microsoft-account-about-two-step-verification
Where to Go from Here
There are many more websites that offer two-step verification. Take a look at all the different online accounts you use and see if two-step verification is available.