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Apple Adds 2-Factor Authentication For FaceTime And iMessage

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Tech giant Apple has tightened the security of instant messaging service iMessage and video telephony and VOIP application FaceTime. The company recently announced that both these applications would now come equipped with 2-factor authentication, one of the best ways currently available to protect user accounts and private data from getting hacked or stolen. With this step, Apple hopes to prevent a repeat of the embarrassing celebrity photo leak scandal (read more about it here – https://vpncoupons.com/article/leaked-celebrity-photos-data-safe-icloud/) which forced it to revamp the security of many of its products, including iCloud (more information is available here – https://vpncoupons.com/Apple-Improves-iCloud-Security/).

FaceTime and iMessage are the de facto communication apps for iOS and OS X operating systems. These apps not only allow users to send messages and communicate face-to-face through audio and video, they also make it possible to send and receive documents, pictures, videos as well as location and contact information. Although both these apps are considered quite secure, they currently have no built-in mechanism to protect user data in the event the user credentials get stolen. It is this glaring security loophole that Apple is trying to fix by introducing 2-factor authentication for both these apps.

2-factor authentication (also known as two step verification) has been in the news a lot lately since many online service providers such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo and Dropbox have adopted it to improve the security of their products. The system was designed to improve the overall security of the user authentication process by introducing an additional layer on top of the usual username/password verification process. Once you enable two factor authentication for an online service, you need to input a PIN number or verification code (sent by the service provider through SMS or voice call) in addition to supplying your username and password. This makes the whole login process a lot more secure since hackers and criminals can’t log into accounts that have 2-factor authentication enabled simply by stealing usernames and passwords. Due to the enhanced security available through 2-factor authentication, it has even earned the backing of National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) which recently urged all online users to switch to the system in order to secure their accounts and personal data.

Despite its security benefits, 2-factor authentication is not without its flaws. Since the authentication process depends on receiving a verification code on a registered device, users losing their phones (in addition to getting their user credentials compromised) run the risk of losing their personal data and getting locked out of their accounts. To prevent such a possibility, Apple has introduced the option of using a “Recovery Key” which lets users access their accounts in case they cannot receive a verification code due to lack of mobile signal or happen to misplace their registered phones.

Apple is slowly but surely rolling out the 2-factor authentication feature for most of its products. The company introduced it way back in 2013 to secure users’ Apple ID accounts and also rolled it out for iCloud in the aftermath of the celebrity photo scandal. After the company introduced the feature for iMessage and FaceTime, many security experts have praised the company for making the personal communications of its users a lot more secure. For more information regarding Apple and their products, please visit: www.apple.com.

June 11, 2015

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