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Your Guide to Multi-Factor Authentication

July 26, 2018 Jason Dell


You know the importance of using good password practices:

  • Use a long complex password or a long passphrase
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts
  • Use a password manager (so you don’t have to remember all of those long, complex passwords)
  • Change your passwords periodically

But this is often still not enough.  Consider enabling multi-factor authentication for any and all of your Internet applications that support it.  Multi-factor authentication (aka MFA or two-factor authentication) significantly increases the protection of your accounts.    Some Internet applications even require it (for example, online banking).

MFA comes in several forms, including the following:

  • Applications like Google Authenticator, LastPass Authenticator, Authy, Microsoft Authenticator
  • Text/phone call (not as secure as an MFA application, but better than nothing for sure!)
  • Biometric authentication like TouchID/fingerprint scanner or facial recognition
  • Key fob (a small device that displays a passcode that changes every few seconds)
  • App-specific applications (individual password that works only on one specific device)

Several Internet applications support MFA.  Some examples are listed below:

  • LastPass (It is strongly encouraged to use MFA for any password manager)
  • PayPal
  • Microsoft online applications
  • Dropbox
  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Evernote
  • Yahoo! Mail

The link below leads to a site that lists some (but not all) applications that support MFA:

If an Internet application supports MFA, typically instructions can be found in the same location where the password can be reset.  This is not always the case, though.  Otherwise, use your favorite search engine to find instructions.

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