Apple does the two-step: new layer of security added to Apple ID, iCloud

Apple is giving its users more security over their Apple accounts and remotely stored data with a new option of two-step security authentication. Users can add two forms of verification on their Apple ID — the identity used to sign into iTunes, the App Store, FaceTime, iMessage and more — and their iCloud account.

Apple updated its two-step verification FAQ page on Thursday. By turning it on, users will have to enter a four-digit passcode in addition to their Apple ID or iCloud password. Apple supplies the verification passcode, and it can be saved to each device that is used regularly. The four-digit passcode will replace the need for a security question, according to Apple’s documentation.

Considering how widely the Apple ID is used across a host of Apple services and devices, it’s somewhat surprising this wasn’t previously an option for Apple users. Apple’s account security procedures were found to have several cracks in them in light of the awful hacking attack on Wired writer Mat Honan last summer. His personal accounts with Google, Amazon and Apple were broken into by a hacker who played the companies’ security measures off of each other.

At the time, Apple suspended the ability to let users reset their Apple IDs over the phone with an account representative. Two-step verification looks to be the company closing the loop on its earlier promise to improve its security measures.

(c) 2013, GigaOM.com.

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