How to turn on Twitter’s new security feature — and why you should


Twitter is catching up to the rest of the pack with its addition of login authentication. (Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images)

Twitter has added extra security measures for its accounts and now’s a good time to take a couple of minutes and cut your chances of falling victim to a Twitter hack.

The social network announced Wednesday that it was joining the ranks of Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple by adding what’s called two-factor authentication, which requires users to put in a second code along with their username and password.

It’s true that adding this extra layer of security can be a bit inconvenient, particularly if you don’t always have your mobile phone out when you’re signing into Twitter. But it also means casual hackers won’t be able to get into your account even if they know your password — and that you’ll get a heads-up if someone else is trying to log into your account.

Given how embarrassing Twitter hacks can be for individuals and organizations, it makes good sense to give up a little bit of convenience for an extra layer of security. It’s better to have to reach for your phone whenever you log in than have to clean up your online reputation later.

To turn on the security feature, users can head to their Twitter settings page and scroll down to the section called “account security” to click the box next to “required a verification code when I sign in.” For the feature to work properly, users should also add their telephone numbers to their Twitter accounts so that the company can text them their log-in codes when needed. Once your phone is connected, you should get a text message from Twitter with a changing six-digit code every time you sign into Twitter.com.

If you use a lot of Twitter applications, such as the mobile iOS app or Twitter managers like HootSuite, the company said that your apps should continue working as normal. If you need to add another application, you’ll need to sign in to Twitter first and head to the “Apps” section of your settings to generate a special password for that particular app.

As a sidenote, you should make sure you read through all the settings on the mobile section of Twitter’s settings panel as well, to make sure you’re getting the mobile alerts you want — and skipping the ones you don’t.

Finally, even though the extra security is nice, it isn't foolproof. You should still have a strong Twitter password (no “password123,” please) and be wary of suspicious links in tweets and direct messages.

Related stories:

Twitter adds login verification as extra security measure following breaches

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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