One of the internet’s biggest online stores, Amazon, appears to have finally started giving its users an additional way to protect their accounts.
According to The Verge, some Amazon users can now enable two-step authentication, providing an additional level of security over accounts.
The big advantage, of course, of enabling such a technology is that the verification code changes – meaning that even if a hacker manages to steal your Amazon password, they won’t be able to do anything with the account unless they also the latest verification code.
To enable the feature, log into your Amazon account, click on “Your Account” in the top right hand menu, and choose “Your Account”.
Now if you scroll down the page, you should find the Settings section, containing the option to Choose Account Settings, and then Advanced Security Settings.
After you click on that, Amazon leads you through the process of setting up two-step authentication, with users having the option of receiving an SMS text message containing a verification code or using an app such as Google Authenticator on their smartphone.
Unfortunately, when I tried to enable 2FA on my own Amazon account I was unable to find the necessary setting on Amazon.co.uk, so I have to assume that the company is staggering its roll-out, perhaps limiting the feature to certain territories at this point of time.
Although two-factor authentication may have been a long time coming for Amazon users, we shouldn’t begrudge its late arrival. At least it’s here now (or will, we trust, be available for users outside the United States shortly).
There is no doubt in my mind that technologies like two-factor authentication, whilst not perfect, can dramatically reduce the chances of users having their accounts compromised, and protect online shoppers from some of the phishing threats which are out there.
So, if you can, enable Amazon’s two-factor authentication today.
At the same time, why not take the opportunity to review whether you have chosen a strong, unique password for your Amazon account in the first place. If you’re still using the same dumb password that seemed cutesy to you in 2008, and that you went on to use on umpteen other sites – now is definitely the time to think again.
In order to discover whether your favourite websites have implemented two-factor authentication or not, visit twofactorauthor.org.