It’s high time to add 2FA to your online accounts

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Jefferson Graham shows how to change your security settings on Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft for two-factor authentication, which security experts say is your best, quick defense against a hack.
USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — Maybe your Yahoo account got hacked. Or your preferred presidential candidate didn’t get elected, in part due to damaging information revealed by a hack of an official’s Gmail account. How about that McDonald’s Twitter hack this week—now, do we have your attention?

Two step authentication sends a text with a code for

Two step authentication sends a text with a code for you to log-in to websites (Photo: Jefferson Graham)

No story generated bigger tech headlines this week than news related to what’s thought to be the largest hack on the books: The Yahoo hacks.

The Department of Justice charged two Russian hackers and two Russian security officials with the theft of over 500 million Yahoo accounts, a breach that was only half the size of one Yahoo later revealed.

But if that wasn’t enough of a wake-up call, McDonald’s customers got a rude surprise when a tweet from the company’s official Twitter account said President Donald Trump was “disgusting” and had small hands. In other words, it clearly didn’t come from the corporation, and McDonald’s said so shortly after it was discovered, adding that its Twitter account was “compromised.”

So now we’re talking personal information, and a hack that could dent the corporation’s bottom line.

We have a major hacking epidemic to deal with, and one way all of us can protect ourselves is by switching now to two-factor authentication for our e-mail and social media accounts.

Basically, we sign in twice: with a password, and a code which usually gets sent to us in a text. Security experts say this is the best defense against hackers available today.

How to add 2FA to your social media and e-mail accounts

—On Facebook, go to your account settings and the security tab. Choose Security settings, and enable two-factor authentication.

—On Twitter, go to account, settings and privacy, and click login verification.

—On Google and Microsoft, go to your account settings, click the security sections and choose 2-step.

You have multiple ways of receiving the code, but we suggest getting a text, as most of us have our phones by our sides all the time. 

More tech week recap:

–Pandora, the Internet’s most listened to online music station, is set to launch a new subscription music service, similar to Spotify and Apple Music, for $9.99 monthly. Pandora says it will be different by doing a better job with music recommendations. Two features to look out for–creating playlists based on songs and the “My Thumbs up,” collection, which creates them based on tunes you’ve already shown you liked.

—Also coming soon to a phone near you: Amazon’s Alexa. The personalized digital assistant from the Echo and Dot devices is set for the Amazon iPhone app. Look out Siri for back-to back-comparisons. Brett Molina notes that you’ll be able to ask Alexa for help with shipping, and “request information such as news, weather or sports scores.”

—The latest YouTube top charts are in for February. Who has the hottest channel? It’s not controversial gamer PewDiePie anymore. According to market research firm Tubular Labs, the top creator channel now belongs to T-Series, which offers music from India.

— Facebook’s shameless copy of features found in the Snapchat app can only go so far. After cloning Snap’s “Stories,” feature, which lets users post multiple disappearing photos and videos for a 24-hour period to WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, Facebook users cried foul, as Jessica Guynn discovered.

The gist: we like the apps the way they are now. If we wanted Snapchat, we’d go to Snapchat. One and two-star reviews started showing up in the App Stores for WhatsApp as folks started venting about the new “Status” feature that encouraged them to share images, GIFs and videos along with drawings and emojis that would disappear. Users demanded the simple text update located next to each user’s profile, and they got it.

—Struggling action cam maker GoPro cut 270 jobs, saying it would cost $10 million to let folks go, but save $200 million in the long run. As often happens, we sympathize with the folks who lost their jobs, while Wall Street cheered the move.

—Computer chip maker Intel bought the Mobile Eye company for $15 billion. The Israel based firm works in the connected car space, creating chips and software.

And that’s your tech news roundup. Follow me on Twitter, where I’m @jeffersongraham and subscribe to the daily #TalkingTech podcast on Stitcher and iTunes. 

 

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