The Safety Net
Today, traditional security measures can be easily broken by clever hackers. Passwords can be guessed or bypassed very easily if one knows how to go about taking the best guess. You can wake up someday to find out that you can no longer log in your own device which has been overtaken by someone else sitting in a different corner of the world. In order to avoid such potential nightmares, you must consider more robust security measures.
One of the most popular ways of ensuring safety in these devices is the 2-step verification process which makes it difficult enough for the hackers by introducing a second layer of verification. Such multi-factor systems ensure enough roadblocks for the potential attackers and viruses and keep you and your data safe.
Why 2-Step Verification?
Consider some security incidents that took the online world by storm this year:
- CryptoWall is potential Trojan horse, a virus that masks itself as an innocuous app or file. It encrypts the files in the infected devices to extract money for the decryption key. Recently, it caused a lot of mayhem.
- In another incident, J.P. Morgan publicly accepted that contact information of 76 million people and 7 million businesses were compromised in a virus attack. Millions of mail IDs, addresses, phone numbers and much sensitive financial information got leaked due to these attacks. It can easily be guessed that such information led to further financial scandals.
- In yet another incident, a new vulnerability was spotted that could affects the supposedly impenetrable Linux and Unix based systems. Evocatively named “ShellShock”, this could allow the malicious assaulters to gain complete control over a system and access everything stored out there in the device.
What is common here? They are different types of threats but all of them can directly attack the devices we use on a day to day basis, especially smartphones and tablets. While computers are generally well equipped with antivirus, mobile security is still a very new and emerging field with a lot of vulnerabilities.
Even the most premium of the phones including iPhones and other Apple devices are not safe from these vulnerabilities. This is exactly why we need to discuss various security measures that can make sure the safety of your personal data in these devices.
So, let’s look at the procedure of setting up 2-step verification and securing your Apple ID as well as iCloud.
What is Needed to Set Up 2-Step Verification?
Since you are reading this we assume that you already have an Apple device. Now, apart from that, you will need the following:
- Apple ID or iCloud ID and password
- Recovery Key (We will tell you more about this later in this article)
- Secondary recovery option through a valid secondary mail ID (It is optional but highly advisable)
Now, visit the Apple ID website and log in with the ID and password that you already have. If you are doing it for the first time in a new device, just create the ID.
Take some time to choose a good ID, complex password and equally complex security question. While they can always be broken, just make it as hard as possible for the assailants.
Also do not forget to assign a secondary recovery email ID as mentioned before.
In the next page, you will clearly see the 2-Step Verification section. Click on “Get Started” under that section to go to the next stage.
In the next page there will be a brief explanation of the whole process followed by a description of its benefits.
Basically what you need to know here is that your security questions will no longer be needed after setting up this process and no one else other than you will be able to reset the password.
You will have to set a “Trusted Device” for receiving the recovery key at this stage. Basically you need a valid phone number that can receive text messages.
Once you provide that number, the system will generate a random number which will be your recovery key. You must remember this key. In case you do not trust your own memory then you must write it down somewhere.
But make sure that you store that in a safe and secure place, preferable in some place you can find it easily if required.
Do note that if you forget your password you will need the recovery key. Otherwise, you will never be able to log in.
Once you confirm the recovery key, you will be taken to the final page which will again remind you about the importance of remembering the key safely.
At that point, you can just tick the box indicating that you understand the process and press the “enable” button followed by the final “done” button to complete the setup.
Generally, this is enough if you just want to use your device. If you want to extend it to iCloud, you can continue with the same set of keys.
For this, first go to the iCloud website and sign in using your Apple ID. You will notice that now it requires going through the 2-step verification too.
You will also see that the apps are locked and you cannot use them. The only exception will be the “Find My iPhone” app. Click on it and then click on “Verify”.
Now you will be able to verify using your trusted device. A randomly generated key will be sent to your phone and you will have to enter it in the site to gain access.
If you have lost your device for some reason, you will be able to register a new one by using the aforementioned recovery key.
However if you do not even remember the recovery, you will not be able to get in.
The 2-step verification is an excellent way to ensure safety of your devices. In case somebody attempts to access your accounts you will get the text message with the code. So, you will immediately know if a breach is being attempted. Just do not forget your recovery key!