twitter and two factor take two

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twitter and two factor take two

May 5th, 2018 by Jeanne Boyarsky

In 2014, I tried to enable two factor on Twitter and had to turn it off. Given the recent news that Twitter encourages everyone to change passwords, I decided to take another stab at it. I also learned that Twitter has more options for two factor now like Google authenticator.

Step 1: Changing the password

First, I changed the password. I clicked on the drop down with my picture and chose “settings and privacy”. Then I choose password and changed it. I got an email letting me know the password changed. Good.

Step 2: Surprise step – review apps

Twitter then reminded me that I have 18 applications that can access my account and asked if I wanted to review them. 18 sounds high so I said yes. There were a few general categories:

  • Apps with read only access – given that pretty much everything on twitter is public, I don’t mind that I gave a few sites access to read my profile. I did find one that was just for a one time test and doesn’t need it anymore.
  • Piping my tweets to Facebook – yes. I definitely want this.
  • Various twitter clients – some I don’t use anymore so cleaned this up a bit as well.
  • “social reputation monitoring” – it says I gave this site read/write/direct message access in 2015.  I don’t remember this and I certainly don’t want them to have it anymore. Revoke!
  • Linked in – While I don’t mind them having read access, I don’t want them having write access. Revoke. Same with Disqus. I wasn’t nearly paranoid enough in 2013.

Now I have 13 apps with read (or read/write) access. Still a lot, but at least I know what they are. It’ll be interesting to see which of the read only ones break. “I don’t mind” is different from “I really want it to work”

Step 3: Login verification (two factor)

As I was looking for two factor, I saw “login verification” under account options. That turns out to be what Twitter is calling two factor. I guess it sounds less scary.

However “setup login verification” was disabled. It says I need to confirm my email to turn this on. Ok. So how do I do that? It appears the only way to get a confirmation email is to change your email address. It was a bunch of steps, but I did:

  1. Change to myRealEmail+twitter@gmail.com (because gmail lets you add a plus and more text and still sends to you)
  2. Enter twitter password to confirm it is me
  3. In email, click confirmation
  4. Repeat these three steps to switch back to and confirm my “short form” email. (so I remember what I gave them)

Ok time to turn on two factor with SMS

  1. In account settings, click “setup login verification”
  2. Click start
  3. Enter twitter password to confirm it is me
  4. Send SMS code
  5. Enter SMS code from phone
  6. Generate a backup code in case I ever have issues

Now I have the option to setup alternate two factor methods

  1. In account settings, click “review your login verification methods”
  2. Click “setup” next to mobile security app
  3. Use google authenticator to scan the barcode
  4. Enter the generated code from google authenticator into twitter

Finally, I clicked “edit” next to text message verification so I am just using google authenticator and not text message.

Step 4: My twitter clients

Ok. Now for the test. Can I use Twitter in the devices I care about most? Things seem to work. Will post an update if that no longer stays the case!

Updates:

  • I can still use twitter on all my devices. So I don’t get prompted to login after the password change or two factor. It only takes effect for new logins. (This is good; I have a lot of places that I am logged into twitter.)
  • I got an email from an identify monitoring service that they no longer have access to my twitter. This service only told me about my own tweets so I’m leaving them without access. I was hoping they would tell me about other people’s tweets. I know what I tweet. And as fun as it is to be told I used the word “password” in my twitter…

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