What You Need to Know:
Social media often plays a key role in keeping people connected. Yet the personal details that are often shared online can be highly desirable for would-be identity thieves and cybercriminals. The value of those personal details is why social media account takeovers was the fastest growing type of cyberattack in 2022.
Some Twitter users may feel that threat could be amplified since the social media platform announced the elimination of text message-based two-factor authentication (2FA) for free accounts (also known as SMS-based 2FA). While users who pay for Twitter Blue accounts will still be able to use the popular authentication method, the company expressed concerns about its abuse by bad actors and dropped the feature from free accounts in mid-February 2023.
For anyone looking to protect their accounts against account takeovers and identity theft, there are other authentication options available. In fact, IdentityForce members already have access to some of the tools that can make that adjustment easy.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure your digital privacy, as well as a look at our Social Media Identity Monitoring suite that you can use to protect your social media and other online accounts.
What is SMS-based 2FA?
SMS two-factor authentication is a common security measure that requires a user to take an additional verification step to log into their account. When entering their username and password during the login process, the website sends a one-time passcode to the user’s mobile phone in the form of a short message service (SMS) text message. The user must then enter that code to complete the login process.
By requiring the user to retrieve the SMS code from their own mobile device, the additional verification step reduces the risk that someone can impersonate the user’s identity.
SMS 2FA alternatives
Instead of relying on an SMS text message, there are two common alternatives that provide a proven way to add multi-factor authentication (MFA) to your accounts:
- Authenticator App | An app-based verification option can provide the same security and convenience, often at no cost. Some of the more popular authenticator apps include Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, Authy, or 2FA Authenticator. Once linked to the user’s online account, a verification code is generated within the app itself. This removes the threat of cybercriminals hijacking the user’s phone number to intercept the code, giving them access to the account (a scam known as SIM swapping).
- Physical Security Key | Another alternative that removes the risk of criminals attempting a virtual takeover is buying a physical security key. Once the key is linked to the online account, the user can either plug it into a USB port or scan the key to their smartphone. To access the account, the actual physical key is required.
Whether they choose an authenticator app or security key, the user simply needs to go to their security settings in Twitter and link the selected solution to their account. They can also use their preferred solution to add multi-factor authentication to their other online accounts for additional security.
Monitor social media and strengthen login credentials
Keep in mind, safeguarding online accounts start with strong login credentials that include complex passwords and passphrases that are unique to each account. It’s also recommended to monitor social media accounts for suspicious activity. Luckily, IdentityForce enables members to do both quickly and easily.
Our Social Media Identity Monitoring suite continuously monitors a user’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram accounts. The user is automatically notified if any account exhibits inappropriate activity or posts that could be perceived as violent, are using profanity or could be categorized as cyberbullying or discriminatory.
The IdentityForce dashboard also includes a Password Manager that can generate random passwords for all online accounts. Passwords are kept in secure, cloud-based storage that makes them easily accessible to the user. It also includes a tool to test the strength of potential passwords.
Safeguarding the access and privacy of your social media accounts—and other online accounts—does not necessarily have to rely on the security choices of the platform. There are solutions that can empower users to strengthen their accounts’ login processes. Adding multi-factor authentication to your accounts, strengthening your password game, and using social media monitoring tools can reduce the chances that you’ll lose control over your account and the valuable data it contains.