Twitter 2-step authentication– but not for South Africa yet

We rely on Twitter for the Breaking News and on-the-spot-information especially when the news comes from a verified and reliable Twitter account. So if Mandy Wiener  (@MandyWiener) Tweets that an military airport was used for a private plane to land on for a wedding – we believe it to be true. Mandy is a trusted reporter, a great source of information and has over 63 000 followers so why would it not be true?.

So in April 2013 we believed this Tweet that was sent by the Associated Press:

Twitter hacked account

This was almost unbelievable news however coming from the Associated Press account it was seen with credibility and sent ripples through the stock markets  even causing the DOW Jones to dip as this message continued to be re-tweeted again and again around the world.

Turns out the information was false and was sent via the Associated Press account which was  allegedly hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army.

Twitter took notice and has now introduced a new 2-factor authentication which means that when you sign into Twitter, it will send you an SMS with a second password. Once you enter that password it will allow you in. So much like the banking system, if someone does manage to get a hold of your Twitter password, they will now need to get your SIM card too for that second password.

How to set it up:

For this to work, you will need to add a valid mobile phone number which is done under your Setting where you will see a new item:

Twitter new security 

If you live in South Africa however, you need to wait to use this authentication method as none of the South African cell phone carriers have been connected as yet. When trying to add my cell as MTN, Vodacom, Cell C, Telkom Mobile the same message appears:

Twitter new security

The 2 Step Problem:

From the official Twitter page it seems like you will need to enter this second password every time you log into Twitter:

Twitter message

This might prove to be too much of a headache and I suspect people will not be in a hurry to enable this feature. I check Twitter continuously throughout the day and will not want to have to wait for the SMS to come through just to log in.

Official of High Profile Accounts who want to enable this feature will need to come up with a new methodology just to log in as these accounts are usually manned by a team of people and agencies who are located in the multiple offices – so which cell phone number do they use?

The Twitter page doesn’t mention how this will be handled when you use apps like HootSuite and Tweet Deck.

It also doesn’t mention what happens if you manage multiple Twitter accounts if you will get multiple SMS one per account.

As soon as this authentication feature becomes available in South Africa, I will try answer these questions but until then, we need to stick to good passwords and be vigilant when receiving dodgy emails asking to “verify” anything.

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