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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. You can greatly help your online security by enabling two-factor authentication (sometimes known as multi-factor authentication, or 2FA/MFA) on all of your email, social media, web sites, and work accounts. Check out this quick video tip or read on to find out how to protect yourself:

Having a second part to your login process helps protect you from hackers who obtain your password, which may be easy to guess, or be compromised from other web sites where you use the same password, as most people do (more about this later in the month).

If you log into your accounts and go into settings, there is often a way to enable two-factor authentication. We recommend you do this with a code generator app like Microsoft Authenticator, Google Authenticator, Authy, or the one inside the 1Password password manager application (all these can be easily found in iOS or Android app stores). You can open the authenticator app, scan the code from account settings, and verify that it works. Once this is set up, you’ll use the app to verify it’s actually you logging into your account. We recommend using an app over using text message verification because mobile phone companies are insecure. Texting is better than nothing, but shouldn’t be used where better options exist. (Hint: Microsoft Authenticator and Authy let you back up your codes and move them to a new phone easily!)

This can add significant protection to your online activities so hackers cannot impersonate you, since they usually can’t access your phone over the Internet even if they have your password. Microsoft says you’re 99.9% less likely to have your email hacked if you have 2FA enabled.

CNet has an article with a more detailed overview and information on setting up 2FA with several common services. We also have an article specifically on how to set up 2FA/MFA for Microsoft 365 work accounts!

We’ll have more security tips for you throughout October!