Twitter's two-factor authentication ends today; How to secure account for free

By | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh
Mar 20, 2023 10:26 AM IST

Twitter previously offered three 2FA options: security keys, authentication apps, and SMS messages. But now as Twitter restricted SMS authentication to paid subscribers only, normal users are left with only two options if they don't want to pay ₹900 per month for Twitter Blue subscription.

Elon Musk-owned Twitter has limited the use of text message/SMS mode two-factor authentication (2FA) to accounts with active Twitter Blue subscriptions. 2FA is an additional security step that requires you to enter a code or use a security key in addition to your password to log in to the microblogging platform.

Twitter Blue subscribers will only be allowed to SMS based authentication service.
Twitter Blue subscribers will only be allowed to SMS based authentication service.

How to secure your Twitter account then?

Previously, Twitter provided three 2FA options: security keys, authentication apps, and SMS messages. However, now that Twitter has restricted SMS authentication to paid subscribers only, ordinary users have only two options if they do not want to pay 900 per month for a Twitter Blue subscription. (ALSO READ: ‘Not restricting my kids from social media is a mistake,’ says Elon Musk)

i) Through the authentication app

ii) Through security keys

What is authentication app?

Authentication apps are mobile applications that add an extra layer of security to user accounts. Users have to create an account and link it to their accounts on other online services, such as social media. When they attempt to access the account, they will be required to enter both their usual login information and a one-time code generated by the authentication app's time-based one-time password (TOTP) algorithm.

How to sign up in Twitter account with authentication app

To secure the account using authentication apps, follow the below steps:

1. Install any authentication app, such as Google Authenticator, Authy, Duo Mobile, 1Password.

2. Go to Twitter's ‘Settings’ section, click on ‘Settings and Support’ and then select ‘Security and account access’. Navigate to ‘Security’, then to ‘Two-factor authentication’.

3. You can see all three options here. Turn off the ‘Text message’ option and turn on the ‘Authentication app’ option.

4. Select ‘Get Started’.

5. Launch the downloaded authentication app and scan the QR code shown on the Twitter website. Alternatively, if you can’t scan the QR code with your camera, you can also choose to enter code into the authentication app to link it to your Twitter account.

6. Complete the setup process by entering the six-digit numeric code displayed on your authentication app. (ALSO READ: Elon Musk shares picture of 'new CEO of Twitter,' says he is 'amazing')

What is a security key?

A security key is a physical device used to verify a user's identity when logging into an online account or service. In contrast to other 2FA methods such as SMS codes or authentication apps, it requires the user to physically own the device in order to authenticate themselves.

When logging into an online account, the user must touch the security key or press a button on it after inserting it into a USB port or wirelessly connecting it to the device.

How to sign up using a desktop security key

To secure the account using security keys, follow the below steps:

1. Continuing from Step 3 of the previous process, enable the ‘Security key’ option here.

2. Click the ‘Start’ button.

3. You can either insert the key(s) into your computer's USB port or sync it via Bluetooth or NFC. Once inserted, press the key's button.

4. Finish the setup by following the on-screen instructions.

5. Once completed, your security key(s) will be visible in the Manage security keys section of Two-factor authentication. You can then rename or delete your security key(s) and add new security keys to your account at any time.

Users should be aware that they will need the most recent version of a supported browser such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, or Safari to add or log in to their account with a security key.

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