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If you haven’t updated the security settings on your Twitter account yet, the clock is ticking.
Elon Musk’s social network announced last month that it’s going to take away access to SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA) from users who don’t pay for the company’s $8-per-month Twitter Blue subscription.
Users who have 2FA set up have until Monday, March 20 to either sign up for Twitter Blue in order to keep SMS 2FA or to disable it and set up 2FA using a third-party authentication app.
Fortunately, switching your 2FA settings is a quick, easy and free process that will take you no more than a few minutes. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your Twitter account is secure.
Basically, 2FA is an extra security measure protecting your account from someone breaking into it. It requires a user to confirm their identity with not only their password, but a second method of authentication, such as a code sent via SMS text message to their phone.
That means that even if a bad actor figured out your password and tried to get into your account, they would still need to go an extra step before being able to get in.
Ever since Elon Musk acquired Twitter last year, the company has been cutting costs wherever it can. The 2FA change is a result of that, with Musk claiming in a tweet that scammers were costing the company $60 million per year with bogus SMS charges.
On the company’s official page detailing the announcement, Twitter said that it is discontinuing phone-number based 2FA because it has been “used — and abused — by bad actors.”
Changing your 2FA settings is easy. First, you will want to go to the settings page on your Twitter app or on the desktop site and select “security and account access.” From there, select the “security” option and follow the prompts to get to the 2FA page.
For most people, especially mobile users, the easiest option will be to set up 2FA using an authentication app. Popular and reliable apps include Google Authenticator, Duo Mobile and Twilio’s Authy.
Once you’ve download the app of your choice, follow the prompts on Twitter to link it to your account. Once that’s done, your account is all set.
If you haven’t updated your settings by March 20, don’t worry, you won’t lose access to your account. But it will become less secure when Twitter automatically disables your text-based 2FA.
While you will still be able to use Twitter, your account will be more vulnerable to being taken over by anyone who gains access to your account credentials.
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