Apple Makes Two Factor Authentication Available for Apple IDs

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mike Lennon


(SecurityWeek)In an effort to increase security for user accounts, Apple on Thursday introduced a two-step verification option for Apple IDs.

As the “epic hacking” of Wired journalist Mat Honan proved, an Apple ID often carries much more power than the ability to buy songs and apps through Apple’s App store.  

An Apple ID can essentially be the keys to the Kingdom when it comes to Apple devices and user maintained data, and as Apple explains, is the “ key to many important things you do with Apple, such as purchasing from the iTunes and App Stores, keeping personal information up-to-date across your devices with iCloud, and locating, locking, or wiping your devices.”

Two-step verification is a feature you can use to keep your Apple ID as secure as possible, Apple said.

“After you turn [Two-step verification] on, there will be no way for anyone to access and manage your account at My Apple ID other than by using your password, verification codes sent your trusted devices, or your Recovery Key,” a note from Apple explained.

To setup two-step verification, users need to register one or more “trusted” devices, a device that can receive a 4-digit verification code through either Find My iPhone notifications or SMS.

Once signed in using an Apple ID through My Apple ID, or through iTunes, the App Store, or iBookstore, users need to enter their password and a 4-digit verification code as shown in the diagram below.

Two Step Verification for Apple ID Process

Apple also provides a 14-digit Recovery Key they can be used to regain access to an account if a trusted device is lost or password is forgotten.

If you use your Apple ID for anything more than simply making purchase via iTunes, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of this added security measure. While it has been available for years, any Gmail users not yet using it, should be taking advantage of Google's two-step verification security option as well. 

More information on Apple’s two-step verification is available here.

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