Monday, July 11, 2016
Keep your Amazon Prime account from being hacked, enable two-factor authentication
In the time for the graduation gift shopping season, Amazon.com has the option to enable two-step authentication on users accounts. Two-factor verification isn’t mandatory, but in general, it’s a good idea to turn it on whenever you’re using something that stores your personal info and credit-card number. Amazon decidedly qualifies on both counts.
Two-factor authentication simply means that you need something in addition to your login and password to access your account. In this case, Amazon sends you a text message with a string of numbers to input at the login screen, or you can use a random code generated by an authentication app, like Authy or Google Authenticator. This ensures that someone won’t be able to just guess your password is “12345” in order to access your account; they’ll also need to steal your phone.
Full instructions are below, but know that the option to turn on two-factor authentication is little bit hard to find: It’s tucked at the bottom of the “Change Account Settings” page. You’ll need to use a desktop browser or trick your phone into loading the desktop version of Amazon’s site; the option to set up two-factor verification doesn’t appear on the mobile version of Amazon.com.
Amazon also asks you to go an extra step in adding two-factor to your account. It requires either two phone numbers (yours, and a backup) or both a phone number and an authentication app.
Here’s how to locate the options and switch them on.
1. Click on Your Account in the top nav bar.
2. On the Your Account page, click on Change Account Settings.
3. On the Change Account Settings page, click Edit on Advanced Security Settings. This brings you to an explainer page for two-factor authentication. Click Get Started.
4. Choose whether to receive authentication codes via text message or via an authenticator app. If you choose text messages, you’ll need to input your phone number. If you choose an authenticator app, you’ll need to launch it on your phone and scan an on-screen barcode to sync it.
5. Next, Amazon will require you to enter backup contact info to receive codes. Here’s where that second phone number or authenticator app comes into play.
6. Next, you’ll get to a page that explains how two-factor authentication works. You can elect to have the codes disabled for commonly used devices at the bottom of the page.
And you’re set! Two-factor does add the minor inconvenience of a slightly longer sign-in process, but it’s well worth it for the extra peace o mind.