Twitter, one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, has been a victim of security breaches in the past. To mitigate such risks and ensure the security of user accounts, Twitter introduced Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) as a security measure. However, Twitter has imposed certain limitations on its 2FA, which has led to questions and concerns among users. In this article, we will discuss the reasons behind Twitter’s 2FA limitations and how it impacts the security of user accounts.
What is Two-Factor Authentication?
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a security process that requires users to provide two forms of identification to access their account. The first form of identification is usually a password, while the second is a verification code that is sent to the user’s phone or email address. By requiring two forms of identification, 2FA provides an additional layer of security, making it difficult for hackers to gain access to user accounts.
Why Does Twitter Limit 2FA?
Twitter has put limitations on its 2FA for a variety of reasons, including technical limitations, usability concerns, and cost-effectiveness. Let’s take a closer look at each of these reasons.
One of the primary reasons for Twitter’s 2FA limitations is technical. Twitter’s 2FA is based on a technology called SMS (Short Message Service), which sends a verification code to the user’s phone via text message. While SMS is a widely used technology for 2FA, it is not without its vulnerabilities. Hackers can intercept SMS messages, making it possible for them to gain access to a user’s account despite the 2FA security measure.
To mitigate this risk, Twitter has limited the number of SMS-based 2FA codes that can be sent to a user’s phone number. Twitter has also recommended users to use 2FA via an authenticator app like Google Authenticator or Authy instead of SMS-based 2FA.
Another reason for Twitter’s 2FA limitations is usability concerns. For some users, 2FA can be an inconvenience. Users who have to log in to their Twitter account multiple times a day may find 2FA cumbersome and time-consuming. As a result, some users may opt not to use 2FA at all, which puts their account at risk.
To address this issue, Twitter has implemented a feature called “Remember this browser.” This feature allows users to log in to their Twitter account on a particular device without having to go through the 2FA process every time they log in. However, this feature is only available for 30 days, after which users are required to go through the 2FA process again.
The third reason for Twitter’s 2FA limitations is cost-effectiveness. Twitter has to pay a fee for every SMS-based 2FA code that is sent to a user’s phone number. This can be expensive, especially for a platform as large as Twitter. To save costs, Twitter has limited the number of SMS-based 2FA codes that can be sent to a user’s phone number.
What Are the Implications of Twitter’s 2FA Limitations?
Twitter’s 2FA limitations have some implications for the security of user accounts. The main implication is that SMS-based 2FA is not as secure as other forms of 2FA, such as an authenticator app. This means that users who rely on SMS-based 2FA may be more susceptible to security breaches. In addition, Twitter’s 2FA limitations may discourage users from using 2FA altogether, which puts their account at risk.
What Can Users Do to Improve the Security of Their Twitter Account?
There are several steps that users can take to improve the security of their Twitter account, despite Twitter’s 2FA limitations. The first and most important step is to enable 2FA, even if it’s SMS-based. While SMS-based 2FA is not as secure as other forms of 2FA, it still provides an additional layer of security. However, users should consider using an authenticator app like Google Authenticator or Authy, which are more secure than SMS-based 2FA.
Another step that users can take to improve the security of their Twitter account is to use a strong and unique password. A strong password should be at least 12 characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Users should avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and should change their passwords regularly.
Users should also be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. Hackers often use phishing attacks to trick users into giving them access to their account. To avoid falling victim to these attacks, users should verify the authenticity of any links or attachments before clicking on them.
Finally, users should monitor their account for any unusual activity, such as tweets they didn’t post or messages they didn’t send. If they notice any suspicious activity, they should change their password immediately and contact Twitter support.
Why is two-factor authentication even necessary? (2FA)
Users should enable two factor authentication as an additional security step for all social media accounts and other services (2FA). After the feature is enabled, you will need to re-verify your identity by entering a secondary security number in order to get into the account.
Because only you know the 2FA passwords, your accounts are twice as secure. After 2FA has been enabled, you must first log in with your regular password and then enter a separate security code in order to access your account on any device.
Then why did Twitter choose to restrict it if this is so crucial?
The microblogging platform explains in a blog post how SMS-based 2FA can be manipulated by malicious parties and urges users to rely on security key or third-party 2FA apps instead. Musk claimed that “bogus SMS charges” from con artists cost the economy close to $60 million annually.
While historically a popular method of two-factor authentication, phone-number based 2FA has sadly been utilized – and misused – by bad actors, according to Twitter. As a result, from today, only Twitter Blue subscribers will be able to enroll accounts in the text message/SMS form of 2FA.
What opinions do the users have?
Another user speculated that Twitter’s most recent action could “lead to class action cases when people get hacked and have damages,” while one user branded the decision “vile” and “disgusting.” The initiative was condemned by Evan Greer, the director of the nonprofit organization Fight for the Future that promotes digital rights. In an email to NPR, she described this decision as another one of Musk’s “chaotic behaviors.” She has questioned Twitter’s most recent actions since Musk took over the company.
Twitter users shouldn’t have been put in this scenario, she wrote in an email to NPR. Changing something so delicate as two-factor authentication, which may mean the difference between someone’s physical safety and a stalker, abuser, or dictatorial regime obtaining access to their account, should never be made in such a reckless and poorly thought out manner.”
How do I activate Twitter’s two-factor authentication?
Before we describe how to setup 2FA without paying a subscription, keep in mind that you must first download a reliable third-party authentication app from the Play Store. Downloading the Authy, Microsoft, or Google Authenticator apps is an option available to users.
Open Twitter first, then navigate to the Settings page in Step 1. (on a computer, Settings is immediately displayed on the left side of the screen; android users must tap the profile image and then tap Settings and Privacy on their mobile devices.)
- In step 2, Android users must now select “Security and Account access.”
- Step 3: Repeat the tapping of Security and Two-factor authentication.
- Step 4: Choose After activating the Authentication app option, begin. A QR code will now show up.
- Step 5: Open the third-party authentication app that you downloaded and scan the Twitter app’s QR code.
- The final step is to enter the six-digit numerical code that the Authentication app provided.
In conclusion, Twitter’s 2FA limitations are a result of technical limitations, usability concerns, and cost-effectiveness. While these limitations may have some implications for the security of user accounts, users can take steps to improve the security of their Twitter account, such as enabling 2FA, using a strong and unique password, and being cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.