How to set up two-factor authentication for your online accounts

How to set up two-factor authentication on your online accounts

What are authenticator apps? Authenticator apps are considered more secure than texting. They also offer flexibility when you’re traveling to a place without cellular service. Popular options include Authy, Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, and Hennge OTP (iOS only). These apps mostly follow the same procedure when you’re adding a new account: you scan a QR code associated with your account, and it is saved in the app. The next time you log in to your service or app, it will ask for a numerical code; just open up the authenticator app to find the randomly generated code required to get past security.

But while those standards are still being adopted, the next best way to secure your accounts is two-factor authentication, or 2FA. This a process that gives web services secondary access to the account owner (you) in order to verify a login attempt. Typically, this involves a phone number and / or email address. This is how it works: when you log in to a service, you use your mobile phone to verify your identity by either clicking on a texted / emailed link or typing in a number sent by an authenticator app. If you want something that doesn’t depend on software to keep your device safe, you can also opt for a security key. The USB- or NFC-based hardware plugs into your computer or mobile device to authenticate, making it harder for hackers to intercept since security keys can’t be duplicated. For more information on how security keys work, check out our security key guide. While 2FA — via text, email, or an authenticator app — does not completely cloak you from potential hackers, it is an important step in preventing your account from being accessed by unauthorized users. Here’s how to enable 2FA on your accounts across the web. (We’ve listed the services in alphabetical order.)

Amazon Go to the Amazon homepage and log in. Hover over “Accounts & Lists” and click on “Account.” A box labeled “Login & security” will be at the top of the page, so click on that and then click the “Edit” button on “Two-Step Verification (2SV) Settings.” (You may be asked to reenter your password first.) You can also navigate directly to that page by following this link.

Click “Get Started” and Amazon will walk you through the process of registering your phone number, or you can opt to use your preferred authenticator app by syncing it through a QR code. Start with Amazon’s “Login & security” section. You can activate 2FA on both the Android and iOS Amazon app by tapping the three-line “hamburger” menu on the left side and finding “Your Account” > “Login & security.” The same “Two-Step Verification (2SV) Settings” selection should be available for you to edit and toggle on 2FA.

The Amazon app also lets you set up two-step verification. You can use a third-party authenticator app. Once your phone number or authenticator app has been verified, you can select trusted devices to bypass 2FA or generate a code to log in via a mobile app.

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