Iowans who worry about their online security are likely familiar with what’s known as “two-factor authentication.”
Information technology security expert Jesse La Grew explains that in many cases, to log onto one account, you’ll have to enter a six-digit number that’s texted to your cell phone.
“Even if someone guesses your password, they can’t get in without that multi-factor authentication, they can’t get in without having access to your smartphone.”
Two-factor authentication may also involve a numerical code being sent to your email account. Websites were security is vital, like bank accounts, allow users to activate this extra layer of protection. La Grew recommends you do so, even if it means you need to allot an extra 30 seconds to log in.
He says enabling those pop-ups on your phone or in text messages is one of the best ways to keep your accounts safe.
“If you receive a pop-up prompt that says ‘Hey, would you like to allow access?’ and if you know you didn’t access your account at the time you received that prompt, that’s a really good indicator somebody guessed your password,” he says.
There are several options available, La Grew says, and you should see what’s compatible with your important websites.
“It could be the Google Authenticator or it could be another application that’s built-in,” La Grew says. “This is very common with banking websites, very common with email and social media.”
The system can also send you a message each time there’s a log-in attempt from a location that’s not your typical spot, say from home or work.