What is two-factor authentication (2FA)? How to enable it and why you should

Lorrie Cranor knows a thing or two about the importance of two-factor authentication (2FA). Cranor is a Carnegie Mellon professor who specializes in passwords and security. She’s also the former chief technologist of the Federal Trade Commission. Oh, and she’s the victim of a mobile phone hijacking plot against her family — one she’s confident 2FA could have prevented.

Cranor’s experience is enough to make anyone shudder: In the summer of 2016, someone walked into a carrier store and identified herself as “Lorrie Cranor.” The crook provided a fake ID and said she wanted to upgrade to a new iPhone. She walked out of the store with two shiny new devices — connected to Cranor’s family numbers — and a bill left behind in Cranor’s family name.

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