Multi-factor authentication in Social Media Networks: two tokens are better than one

In the old days of I.T. security, installing a big brand name antivirus software on your personal computer was all you needed to ensure no harm would come to you, your private data, or your PC. The barbarians were kept at the gate, so to speak, and the line of defense clearly demarcated between you and the outside world of malicious users, viruses, and trojans.

That Soviet-era world of PC security no longer exists. Malware has evolved and adapted to a new generation of savvy internet users and smart devices. The gates on our smartphones, tablets, and laptops are instead wide open for browser-based attacks more difficult to prevent and quarantine.

The new line of defense by software developers is now set at the user account level, where two-token security ensures the malware barbarians remain personae non gratae. Two-token security (2FA), also known as multi-factor authentication, is an extra authentication step beyond knowing an account’s login ID and password.

For social media users, the easiest two-token social media security method is the association of a mobile phone number to your Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ account. Whenever someone attempts logs in to any of these social media networks, an SMS text containing a unique one-time security code is immediately sent to your mobile phone number. This unique code is entered as part of the login process in addition to your ID and password. No 2FA code, no access to your social media account, it’s that simple.

If you are thinking this won’t happen to me and that your accounts are safe, just ask the Washington Post about the Syrian Electronic Army’s hijacking of Twitter accounts.

Unless your Facebook ID is guarded by “Login Approvals”, your Google (Gmail and G+) account shielded under “2-Step Verification”, or your Twitter login hardened with “Login Verification”, social media users are extremely vulnerable to an array of common malicious attacks designed to hijack your account and everything it is connected to.

Otherwise, the next time you click a link in a Gmail, Facebook post, or Tweet from an old friend you haven’t heard from in a while, it could be a barbarian knocking on your gate, checking if your two token security is turned on.

How to activate your social media security: