Today’s post is the 2020 update to Turning On Twitter 2 Factor Authentication (2FA). After the recent high profile Twitter hacking, it would be a good time to review steps you can use to protect your Twitter account. How To: Turn On Twitter 2 Factor Auth (2020)
Periodically all software/applications, tweak steps, rename steps, or change features. Today’s post is one of those situations. TGM originally posted the How To Turn on Two Factor Authentication For Online Services in 2016, and then How To Turn On 2 Factor Auth Twitter in 2018. Today’s post will go over how to turn on 2FA in 2020.
With the recent, very public hacking of the Twitter accounts of former US President Obama, Former US VP Joe Biden, in addition to other major public figures and corporations, including Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos & Apple, everyone should be checking their settings and making sure the settings are up to date to have the most security possible. If a 22 yr old, 19 yr old, and a 17 yr old can manage to create this latest Twitter breach, imagine what the “professionals” can do.
What Is 2 Factor Authentication
For those who don’t understand what 2FA is…..2FA is the equivalent of having 2 locks on your front door. You can’t open the door unless you unlock both locks. To use 2FA, when you try to log into your account, you will receive a text message** with a code that you must then enter on your Twitter account login, before being able to access your account. Or you will need to access a previously set up authenticator app that you will then get a code from to log in with. Yes, that is another hoop to deal with, but these days, you just have to.
How To Set Up 2 Factor Authentication
- To start from the Twitter website click on More -> Settings and Privacy At this point, click on Account -> Security. That will give you the security option to set up Two-Factor authentication, click there.
- In this next section, you will see the choices of setting up 2FA with a text message, authentication app, or a security key.
Setting Up Text Message
- Click the checkbox next to the Text message.
- Read the overview instructions, then click Next.
- Enter your password, then click Verify.
Note: If you don’t already have a phone number associated with your account, we’ll prompt you to enter it. Additionally, you can choose to deselect the option to allow your existing contacts to find you on Twitter.
- Now we’ll ask you to enter the confirmation code we sent you via text message. Type in the code, You’ll see a confirmation screen with a backup code. We recommend you store a screenshot of the code in case you need it for future use. This will help you access your account if you lose your mobile phone or change your phone number.
- Click Got it when you’re finished with this screen.
Now, when you log in to your account on twitter.com, Twitter for iOS, Twitter for Android, or mobile.twitter.com, a six-digit code will be text messaged to your phone to use during login.
Setting Up Authentication App
When you click on the authentication app set up, you will just see a “Welcome” prompt that you will click start to, followed by some general info that you will click next on, and that will take you to the prompt to Link The App To Your Twitter Account that will show a QR code for you to scan from your phone or tablet (where ever you have the Authenticator App installed).
At this point, if you don’t have an authenticator app yet, there are many but the ones from Google and Microsoft are among the most used. To download either Google or Microsoft authenticator app
- Microsoft Authenticator App (iOS / Android / Windows)
- Google Authenticator App (iOS / Android / Windows via Chrome)
Now that you have one, open it, and select add a new account. That will open the QR scan window, go ahead and scan the QR code that your Twitter account showed. If the code doesn’t scan you can select enter code manually on both the app and the Twitter page and manually configure the setup.
After that, we get a final confirmation screen, and the account is now set up with 2FA via Authenticator App.
About the Security Key
For most people having a physical security key will not be a normal thing. However, if you happen to be in a business or do happen to have one here is the info on using a physical security key with Twitter.
- To get started, you will first need to turn on either the Text message or Authentication app two-factor authentication method.
- Click the Security key.
- Read the overview, then click Start.
- Insert your physical security key to your computer’s USB port and touch it.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to finish the setup.
In addition to setting up 2FA, there are 2 more things to consider while you manage and use your Twitter account (and any online account for that matter).
Use Strong Unique Passwords / Password Manager
You should use a strong, unique password for all your online accounts (including Twitter). This is difficult to do when everyone seems to have dozens of accounts. Since most people can’t memorize a different string of random characters for each site, a password manager comes to mind.
With a password manager, you can keep track of multiple site passwords without the sticky notes all over your monitor.
Just make sure you don’t use the word Password or 123Changeme as the password for your password manager. Passwords should be at least 10 characters with a combination of numbers, letters, and characters.
Don’t Fall For Phishing
The other thing, no matter what steps you take to secure your passwords, people will constantly send you FAKE emails looking like they are from your bank, Microsoft, Apple, Social Media places, and anything else you can think of. Usually, the fake email will say something about some suspicious behavior or that your account has been compromised and they need to verify your info.
Don’t enter your password. Tech companies, banks, and other online services go out of their way to never ask for your password in an email, text, or phone call. The method often works because it alarms users to hear there’s been suspicious activity, and they may not be thinking clearly as a result. Don’t let this be you.
Considering how much information you share online, you must be able to keep control of your accounts at all times. This is just one step in the process to do that.
- The Guardian – Twitter Hack / US and UK Teens Arrested
How To: Turn On Twitter 2 Factor Auth (2020)