Instagram has become the latest social network to enable two-factor authentication, a valuable security feature that protects accounts from being compromised due to password reuse or phishing.
Users can, and should, opt in by clicking on the settings icon in the top right of their profile, hitting two-factor authentication in the following menu, and enabling the setting to “require security code.”
Once enabled, the app will text a six-digit code to users’ phones every time they want to log in to the service. A simple security measure, it nonetheless provides an added layer of protection against accounts being hacked by attackers who have managed to steal credentials.
Instagram joins Facebook, Twitter, Google and many others in offering some form of two-factor verification. Confusingly for users, all the methods are slightly different: Twitter requires logging in to be approved by opening the app on a trusted device, and Google uses an open standard to link up with its authenticator app, which generates new six-digit codes every 30 seconds.
The site Turn It On provides a general step-by-step guide to enabling two-factor authentication on every service that offers it. Not included in the list is WhatsApp, which introduced a slightly different method of account security, called two-step verification, in February.
But whatever the form, two-factor authentication is recommended by security experts for every user, as an easy and free way to secure accounts against intruders, which is why you should turn it on for Instagram today.