Start using Facebook 2-Factor

facebook-2-factor-setting-screenshotStart using Facebook 2-Factor: a reader asks…

My facebook account got hacked and it took me awhile to get things restored and back to normal. A friend told me that I need to turn on 2-factor authentication to protect my account. What is it and how do I do that?

I suggest you read my article 3 Things to Know about 2-Factor Authentication (and some advice) to get an idea of what two-factor authentication is. It basically adds another (2nd) step you take to log into your account. The first step is your username and password, and this second step adds one more ‘factor’ that you need to use to verify you are who you say you are (which is what you do when you log in). That second factor can be one or more of these:

  1. A text message you receive on your cell phone when you try to log in on any computer or device – use the code texted to you to complete the login, and/or
  2. usb-key-image-from-facebookdotcomA USB security key (from a 3rd party) you have to insert in your computer to complete the login, and/or
  3. The Facebook app on your phone which has a code generator – use the code from the app to complete the login. You can instead use a 3rd party app like the Google Authenticator.

In addition, you can create a set of recovery codes you can print out and carry with you in case you lose your password or get hacked again. The recovery codes can be used to reset your account password. You can also create app-specific pass codes for other apps and services that need access to your Facebook account.


To turn this feature on, open Facebook on your computer and go to your Security and Login Settings. Click the downward-pointing caret at the top-right corner of Facebook and clicking Settings > Security and Login. On the page that shows up, scroll down to Use two-factor authentication and click Edit
Choose the authentication method you want to add and follow the on-screen instructions to enable this new feature.

At this point in time, I think every single Facebook user should turn on two-factor authentication. While not perfect, it will go a long way towards helping secure your account from hackers. Using the text message method, you’ll get a text message anytime your Facebook account is accessed. If you didn’t try to access your account, you’ll know someone is trying to get in, and they’ll be foiled because they don’t have your text message with the code needed to complete the login. If you use the code generator in the Facebook app, no one can complete the login without already being logged into your Facebook account on a smartphone. I don’t think the USB key method is used by many people, since keys cost money and text messaging/code generator app is free.

Lastly, you should turn on two-factor authentication (aka 2-step…) on every login where it’s offered. This includes banking, credit card, online shopping, social networking and any other website or online service that offers this feature.


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