Two-step verification (2SV) is incredibly useful as an additional layer of account security.
Who knew a simple SMS code (or verification code generated by Google Authenticator) could go such a long way towards strengthening your digital security?
But I must ask: why stop there?
Information is power in today's technological age, so computer criminals are always on the lookout for new ways to access people's data. One obvious target is payment card or banking details. With that type of information, bad actors can flip users' account details on dark web markets for a profit or use them to make their own fraudulent purchases. Either route spells trouble for the victim whose account has been compromised.
Given those threats, it is important that users protect any and all web accounts containing financial information with a strong password and 2SV, if available.
Let's begin with one of the most well-known and obvious choices: PayPal.
In this guide, I will walk through the steps on how you can protect your PayPal account via two-step verification.
1. Log into your PayPal account.
2. When you first created your profile, PayPal likely prompted you to enter in a mobile phone number. You need to have PayPal verify that number if you are to activate 2SV on your accounts.
With that in mind, you need to go to your account settings. At the top right-hand corner of your PayPal home page, you will see a gear-shaped icon situated left of the "Log out" button. Click on that icon.
3. You will find yourself on your "Account" page. Scroll down to the bottom, where you will see all of your connected email addresses and mobile phone numbers displayed. Assuming that you have not already confirmed the number for which you would like to activate 2SV, you will see the text "Unconfirmed" presented beneath the phone number, with a hyperlinked "Confirm" option located to the right of that number. Click on "Confirm."
4. PayPal will display a new page stating it has sent a verification code to your phone number. Enter in the code and click the blue "Validate" button.
5. If you entered in the code correctly, PayPal will display a new page announcing that you have successfully confirmed your phone number and that you can now use that number to login.
You should also receive a text to your phone and a message to your email address saying the same thing.
At the top right corner of the page, you will see an "X." Click on it to return to your "Account" page.
6. At the top of the page, you will see a blue ribbon with several clickable options available. "Account" should be highlighted, with "Security," "Payments," and "Notifications" displayed next to it. Click on "Security."
7. On the "Security" page, you will see the option to specify a "Security Key." That feature should be located directly under "Mobile PIN" and should have a hyperlinked "Edit" option located next to it. Click "Edit."
8. You will be redirected to a page that displays all available security keys currently activated on your account. You want to generate a new key, so click on "Get security key" located under the "Order or activate a security key" sub-heading.
9. You will find yourself on another page where you will be prompted to register your mobile phone number as a security key. That page includes important information regarding the use of a SMS-based key. Please read over the page carefully.
When you fully understand and consent to the Terms and Conditions, enter in your phone number twice into the provided text fields and click on the "Agree and Register" button at the bottom of the page.
10. At this point, PayPal will send a verification code to your mobile device. Enter in the code and click "Enter."
11. You're all set! From now on, every time you attempt to log into your PayPal account, you'll be directed to this screen after entering in your username and password:
Simply enter in the code, click on the "Continue" button, and you'll be redirected to your PayPal Summary page, where you can manage your recent transactions.
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