Protect your Twitter account against the company’s major security change

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If you haven’t updated the security settings on your Twitter account yet, the clock is ticking.

Elon Musk’s social network announced last month that it will take away access to SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA) from users who don’t pay for the company’s $8-a-month Twitter Blue subscription.

Users who have set up 2FA have until Monday, March 20 to either sign up for Twitter Blue to keep SMS 2FA or turn it off and set up 2FA with a third-party verification app.

Fortunately, changing your 2FA settings is a quick, easy and free process that will take you no more than a few minutes. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your Twitter account is secure.

Basically, 2FA is an additional security measure protecting your account from someone breaking into it. It requires a user to confirm their identity not only with their password, but with a second method of authentication, such as a code sent via SMS message to their phone.

This means that even if a bad actor figured out your password and tried to get into your account, they would still need to take an extra step before being able to get in.

Ever since Elon Musk acquired Twitter last year, the company has cut costs wherever it can. The 2FA change is a result of this, with Musk claiming in a tweet that scammers were costing the company $60 million a year with fake SMS charges.

At the company official page detailing the announcement, Twitter said it was discontinuing phone number-based 2FA because it was being “used — and abused — by bad actors.”

Changing your 2FA settings is easy. First, you’ll want to go to the settings page in your Twitter app or on the desktop website and select “security and account access.” From there, select the “security” option and follow the instructions to get to the 2FA page.

For most people, especially mobile users, the easiest option will be to set up 2FA with an authenticator application. Popular and trusted apps include Google Authenticator, Duo Mobile, and Twilio’s Authy.

Once you’ve downloaded the app of your choice, follow the instructions on Twitter to link it to your account. Once this is done, your account is all set.

If you haven’t updated your settings before March 20th, don’t worry, you won’t lose access to your account. But it will become less secure when Twitter automatically disables your text-based 2FA.

While you will still be able to use Twitter, your account will be more vulnerable to being taken over by anyone who gains access to your account credentials.

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