With over 500 million users, Instagram has quickly become one of the top dogs of social media. Between the many features that combine the best of Facebook and Snapchat and a gorgeous, visual interface that lets you share your thoughts in over 140 characters, I understand why so many people are turning to the platform to communicate with friends and family through daily posts, direct messages, and live video streaming. But, as the age-old saying going, “with great power comes great responsibility.” As the platform gains more users every week and becomes a growing target for hackers, Instagram has a responsibility to their users to increase security measures to maintain user privacy.
After a long-awaited increase in account security, Instagram has finally released a two-factor authentication capability, so that users can up their level of personal security hygiene. Two-factor and multi-factor authentication are terms that have been thrown around a lot recently, with Twitter having added support for 2FA apps, and now Instagram introducing a system of its own into the login process. In case you need a refresher on the difference between the two (or need a quick overview of what they mean to begin with), here’s a quick guide.
Used to add a layer of security to online accounts, two-factor authentication asks for another piece of information after a user enters their password to log in (this is their first verification factor). The second factor can range from a question asking for something the user already knows (like a password, PIN, zip code, or mother’s maiden name), to a biometric verification like a fingerprint, to a confirmation number sent through an SMS message.
This is the most common type of verification, and I’m sure almost all of us have received single-use codes from some of our favorite apps and websites to confirm our identity. Though Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram all offer 2FA logins, it’s not just social networking sites that offer the extra protection. Amazon, Dropbox, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and PayPal all allow users to switch on two-factor verification. This quick guide explains how to switch it on for all your favorite platforms.
Two-factor authentication is a great option, of course, if the only other choice is to have single-factor authentication for your login. However, multi-factor authentication, or MFA, essentially protects your personal account information with more than two locks, and is always the best option when given a choice. Hackers find it much less appealing to try to hack in to a personal account that’s been safeguarded with multi-factor authentication, because it won’t be simple. The True Key App is a great example of a system that uses MFA to ensure maximum security for your stored passwords.
Now, how can you turn on the new 2FA feature for your Instagram account? Here’s a quick, step-by-step guide to setup:
- Open the Instagram app on your phone, then go to your profile page.
- Click on the three dots in the upper-right corner, and go to Settings.
- Scroll down to the “require security code” option, and select “Turn On”.
- You’re all set, and so much more secure!
Setting up multi- or two-factor authentication systems on all accounts may seem like an extra or unnecessary step, but it’s quite the contrary. The extra step of checking for a verification code, providing a thumbprint, or answering an extra question or two before getting into your account is worth the protection against account hacks. In the meantime, organizations are working to make identity verification quick and easy (while equally secure), to minimize the “hassle” that can come with requiring multiple layers of authentication to gain access to your accounts. Until then—I think we can all agree it’s worth spending that extra minute or two to make sure our accounts are 100% locked down.