Twitter Introduces Two-Step Authentication

Twitter has finally introduced two-factor authentication to more securely protect accounts, the company announced Wednesday.

The move comes after a number of hacks of high-profile Twitter accounts, including The Onion, the Associated Press and E! Online.

Jim O’Leary from Twitter’s product security team announced the new feature via a blog post, saying it is in response to accounts “occasionally” being compromised by phishing schemes or password breaches on other sites.

The move will likely be of most interest to major brands with a presence on the site as a part of an effort to ward off hackers. By implementing the feature, it will make it more difficult to gain control of an account.

Twitter is calling the new feature “login verification.” It works similarly to other two-factor authentication systems, especially Google’s feature: After the account holder logs into an account, Twitter will send a special code to the user via SMS text message that the person must enter to gain access to the account.

The second step is required every time the user logs out and logs back in, a Twitter spokesperson told Mashable.

Users can enable login verification via their Twitter settings page. You’ll need both a confirmed email address and a verified phone number on your account to use the feature, and the system will send a test message to finish the activation.

Importantly, apps that you’ve linked to Twitter will continue to work “without disruption,” O’Leary wrote. For apps other than a browser that require you to log into Twitter, you’ll need a one-time password, available on Twitter’s application page (this is also similar to how Google two-factor authentication works).

Twitter built login verification out of its Twitter for SMS feature, which was actually what the service was initially based on when it debuted in 2006. O’Leary says the work the company put into login verification will enable more security enhancements in the future.

Calls for Twitter to introduce some kind of two-step verification service grew louder after account hacks became a frequent occurrence. Besides the companies mentioned earlier, the BBC, the Financial Times, Burger King and Donald Trump have all experienced Twitter hacks in recent months.

Mashable editor-in-chief Lance Ulanoff wrote in April that the time had come for the feature to arrive on the service, and he recommended Twitter make it a requirement for verified accounts.

What’s your take on Twitter’s two-step verification? Will you use it? Let us know in the comments.

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