Before you do any Black Friday shopping online — or any other e-spending this holiday season — consider checking the security settings on online shopping accounts, such as your Amazon account.
A cybersecurity feature known as two-step or two-factor verification adds an extra layer of protection to online accounts.
When two-step verification is enabled, you need to provide more than your password to access an online account.
After you enter a password when logging into an account, you will be asked for unique information, such as a one-time string of characters that’s sent to you via text message or a special app. Without both the password and the unique info, no one — including cybercrooks — can access that account.
Retailers that offer two-step verification include:
Two-step verification is not perfect. The method that involves having unique info sent to your phone by text message has been criticized because potential e-evildoers can circumvent the second layer of security — that is, the text messages — by stealing or hacking your phone.
Bob Sullivan reports on this in “Smartphone Hijacking Hits the Big Time — Here’s How to Protect Yourself.”
Still, having added security beats not having it. As PCWorld once put it:
“Despite these problems, you should stick with 2-step verification on any service that offers it. Your home is less secure than Fort Knox, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your door unlocked. The harder you make it for crooks to break into your private space, the more likely they’ll give up and try someone less vigilant.”
To learn about other types of websites for which two-step verification is available, check out the extensive list maintained by software engineer Josh Davis on his site Two Factor Auth (2FA).
To learn more about how you can protect yourself online this holiday shopping season and beyond, check out “7 Ways to Guard Your Wallet — and Identity — When Shopping Online.”
Do you take extra precautions when shopping online? Let us know by commenting below or over on our Facebook page.