Twitter offers users two factor authentication to tighten security

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Following a series of high-profile security breaches, Microblogging website Twitter is adding an extra security measure to users’ accounts by offering two-factor authentication for users across its social network.

Twitter said in a blog post that users will be able to enrol in a login verification program.

For those interested in the extra security, the feature can be accessed in the “security account settings”. Users will then be asked to register a verified phone number and a confirmed email address.

Twitter will then send a six-digit code in a text message each time they sign in to Twitter.com. Besides their username and password, users will have to enter the code as well to log in.

While Twitter has seen phenomenal growth as a social media outlet, its security has been questioned. Twitter said in February it was hit by a sophisticated cyber attack and that the passwords of about 250,000 users were stolen.

Twitter has been criticised for not having this option, especially following recent breaches of Twitter accounts belonging to major news organisations and other companies. Twitter reportedly began testing the security measure in April.

High-profile organizations and institutions have not been spared in the latest spate of attacks . The Financial Times for example, along with British newspaper the Telegraph and the newswire service the Associated Press, just to name a few, have all seen attacks take over their Twitter streams within the last month.

Microsoft, Google and Facebook already allow two-step verification as an option. But unlike the other internet companies, Twitter will ask users for a verification code each time they log out and log back in, even if it’s from the same computer. The others allow you to bypass that if you are using the same computer regularly. Microsoft began offering two-step verification last month. Facebook and Google have offered it longer.

“Of course, even with this new security option turned on, it’s still important for you to use a strong password and follow the rest of our advice for keeping your account secure,” said Jim O’Leary of Twitter Product Security.

For those worried that turning on the authentication in twitter.com will affect their apps, O’Leary advised that “all existing applications will continue to work without disruption” and those who need to sign in to their Twitter accounts on other devices or apps should visit Twitter’s applications page to generate a temporary password to log in and authorise that application.

 

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