If you are like me, social media is a heavily-used feature of technology in your daily life. I use social media to keep in touch with friends and family, and also as an avenue to communicate with Microsoft customers. Obviously, this makes social media sites such as Facebook a tool that reflects my identity and reputation: If I post something positive, readers identify the positive message as coming from me and my reputation is perceived as positive. Conversely, if I post something negative or offensive, readers identify the offensive content as coming from me and my reputation declines or may even be completely destroyed, depending on the severity of the offense.
I am a pretty heavy Facebook user, so keeping my account secure is critical. In order to keep my account safe, I enabled two factor authentication using the Microsoft Authenticator App for Windows Phone, which is available from the Windows Phone Store.
It’s not apparent at first, but Facebook can work with just about any authenticator app - not just the iPhone and Android apps that Facebook provides!
So how do we do it? Let’s have a look:
1) First head over to the Windows Phone Store and download the Microsoft Authenticator App. This will be the application that we use to generate our single-use codes.
2) Once the application is installed, head over to https://www.facebook.com (you enabled secure browsing for Facebook as a default right? If not, now would be a good time to do this as well).
3) Once logged into Facebook, click on the settings (gear) icon at the top right corner of the screen, and click on Account Settings
4) In the top left corner, click on Security
5) Next to Code Generator, click Edit
6) Click on the second option Set up another way to get security codes.
7) You will be presented with a screen like this: The secret key is what we are after here. Keep this window up on the screen.
8) Launch the Microsoft Authenticator app on the Windows Phone device.
9) Click the “Add” “+” at the bottom of the screen.
10) Create a name for the account. In my case I just typed Facebook. Enter the secret key from the Facebook window, and click the save icon at the bottom of the screen.
11) Now you will see a scrolling bar and a numeric code on the screen.
12) Enter the current code into the window on Facebook. You should see a caption appear that says It worked!. Click on Confirm to save the changes.
13) Now click on Edit from the Login Approvals item.
14) Place a check mark in the box for Require a security code to access my account from unknown browsers and click Save Changes. A popup will appear explaining the Login Approvals feature. Click on Get Started to proceed.
15) Now you have the ability to specify a phone number that a security code can be texted to if you are unable to use the Authenticator app. Click on Continue.
16) If you have added a phone number to Facebook already, it will send you a text message with a code to enter. If you have not added a phone number, or wish to change the phone number linked to your Facebook account, you can do so now as well.
17) Click on Continue and then decide whether or not you want Facebook to give you a one week grace period where you can forego the two factor authentication step when logging in from unknown browsers. Click on Close to finish the configuration.
Now when you log into Facebook from an unknown browser (i.e. one not previously seen by Facebook), you will receive a prompt like this:
Simply launch the Microsoft Authenticator app on your phone and type in the code displayed for Facebook:
Afterwards, you will be prompted to save your browser so that Facebook will not prompt you for a code again from that browser. If you wish to be prompted for a code every time, you have to ensure that you click Don’t Save.
And there you have it! One more way to keep your online identity safe!
[Ed note: It doesn’t just work with Facebook – it also works with Microsoft (formerly Windows Live) Accounts, Google Accounts, and others!]
Posted by Tristan Kington, MSPFE Editor, whose online reputation is in tatters. Tatters! I tell you.