Just over a month ago, Twitter introduced a new security measure. The announcement received press attention in both social media sectors and news channels in general.
However, the uptake of the new two-stage verification process appears to have been slow. This is possibly due to its reliance on having your mobile phone to hand whenever you login to Twitter, but also because the announcement itself doesn't seem to have reached the masses.
Today we're taking a look at what the verification process does and how it secures your Twitter account, because there is no doubt whatsoever that the feature adds a level of security that many might be glad of.
What does Twitter Login Verification do?
It is simple in execution. Each time you login to Twitter from a device you'll receive a PIN code on your mobile phone. You'll be required to enter this PIN code on the device you're logging in on. If you don't, you won't be able to login.
This is in addition to requiring your standard Twitter login details. Hence, you have a two stage verification procedure.
How do I set it up?
Within the Account settings section of your Twitter account you'll see the option shown below. It is in the right hand pane and immediately below the Password Reset option.
If you tick the box to activate the feature you'll be told you need to register a mobile phone against your account.
Give Twitter your mobile number when prompted and make sure you have the phone to hand. You'll then be asked to send a text (the word "GO" at the time of writing) to a number. You'll see a spinning icon on screen whilst Twitter waits for you to do this.
Immediately upon receiving your text, Twitter will confirm your mobile is registered and you'll be given a list of 'notification' options.
The first thing to say about these is we recommend you untick them all if you don't intend using your phone for SMS tweeting. In most cases you'll not want to do this and you won't want to receive notifications in this way either. All you really want to do is activate the additional security measure, so untick all the options on screen (a screenshot of all the options unselected is shown below).
That's all there is to it. Now, whenever you try to login to Twitter, it'll send a PIN to your phone.
This brings us to the rather cumbersome nature of the feature. Firstly, if you use an App on a desktop, or a site such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, you're going to have to use a one-time password app (see Twitter Support article here).
There is also the issue a few people discovered after they'd enabled the function and then lost their mobile phones! If you lose your phone, you have to contact Twitter Support in order to regain access to the platform. An inconvenience perhaps, but it does highlight it is a secure system.
That said, it is a level of security that gives protection in a way you've not had previously. Your account can't (theoretically) be accessed by someone simply with your login and password. They'll need your mobile phone too.