Bitcoin was designed as a currency that gives complete control to end users about their funds. For this reason, you should not be relying on a third-party to store your coins. Even if you use an exchange to buy and sell coins, you should transfer the coins back to your online wallet, hardware wallet or bitcoin wallet software on your desktop, laptop or mobile device once you are done completing a transaction using a cryptocurrency exchange.
Reasons to add extra layers of protection
Even when you are not using an exchange or an online wallet to store your bitcoins, you should look into ways of protecting online accounts that contain your financial information. With most websites and online services, you can log in with a username and password, which is not the safest or most secure way of protecting your sensitive personal information because if someone gets access to your username and password, they will be able to log into your accounts and it is possible that you will not even notice when this happens. You may not even do anything wrong. Sometimes, hackers get access to usernames and passwords as a result of online services using insecure methods of storing sensitive information.
One of the most popular ways to add an additional layer of security to online accounts is called two-factor authentication or 2FA. This type of authentication requires users to enter an additional token of information in order to access an account. Failing to enter this additional information results in an error message even if the user enters the username and main password correctly.
What you need to know about Google Authenticator
Google Authenticator is one of the most popular ways to add 2FA protection to an account. Here’s how it works:
- First, you will need to download Google Authenticator app. The app works on any mobile device, including Android, iOS, and Blackberry.
- Next, you will need to log into the service or platform to which you want to add an additional layer of protection. The service or the platform needs to support 2FA authentication.
- Once you enable 2FA authentication on the website, you will then need to scan a QR code with the camera on your mobile device.
- The act of scanning the QR code will link the website to the Google Authenticator app on your mobile device.
After you complete this process, you will need an extra password to log into your account. To get this password, you will need to open Google Authenticator app on your mobile device. The app will generate a new 2FA code that you will enter on the login page of the service together with your username and password. The 2FA code is valid for a very short period of time. Once the code expires, the app generates a new code. Typically, the code is a six- or eight-digit string.
Using 2FA authentication is very simple and convenient, but you do need to keep two things in mind if you decide to start using 2FA. First, you will only be able to log into services that use 2FA if you have your mobile device with you. To be able to log into a website, your mobile device will also need to have enough charge to be able to generate a 2FA code. With most areas in Western countries offering free charging of mobile devices, this should not a problem for most people, but sometimes it can cause some inconvenience.
You will have an issue if you lose your mobile device because you will lose your 2FA credentials together with your device. While it is possible to remove 2FA security protection from an account, it can be a long and complex process.
Other services that allow you to add an extra layer of protection include Clef and Authy apps that you can get from the app store available on your device. However, these options require you to carry additional devices with you, which makes them less than perfectly convenient.
You can also add verification with a text message to your online account, but this type of verification also has its disadvantages. For example, you will not be able to use text verification if you suddenly find yourself in an area where there is no cellular signal. If you are in a foreign country, receiving a text message with a code can be expensive.
However, even with the disadvantages, it makes sense to use 2FA to protect your accounts because safeguarding your money is worth the occasional hassle and inconvenience.