LinkedIn aims to keep hackers out with two-factor login

Once the feature is enabled, users will get a code sent to them when logging in from a new device

By Zach Miners, IDG News Service |  Internet

Add LinkedIn to the list of Internet companies trying to make themselves safer from cyberattacks by adding two-step authentication.

Users of the professional social-networking site now have the option to add two-step verification to their accounts, which is designed to add another layer to the sign-in process when logging in from a new or unknown device. With the feature enabled, users will be prompted to type a numeric code sent to their phone via SMS when logging in from an unrecognized computer or device for the first time.

Most Internet accounts that have become compromised are illegitimately accessed from a new computer or device, LinkedIn said Friday in a blog post. When enabled, the new feature makes it more difficult for unauthorized people to access users' accounts because both their password and mobile phone are needed to log in, LinkedIn said.

Two-step verification can be turned on using the site's settings page for users' security options. After the feature is enabled, the site will send the code upon sign-in once per device. A user will be notified via email each time his or her account is signed into using a new device.

The changes come one week after Twitter introduced two-factor authentication following a series of recent hacks targeting high-profile businesses on the blogging site. Security experts had long been calling for the company to make two-factor logins an option.

Last year, LinkedIn users were advised to change their passwords after it was reported that millions of "unsalted" hashed passwords had turned up on a Russian hacker website.

Apple, Facebook and Google are among other companies that also offer two-step authentication as an option for users.

But while two-factor login does add an extra layer of security, it is not a panacea, some security experts have said. With an email phishing attack, for instance, a hacker could fake a login page to ask for the code the user just received, it has been argued.

Aside from two-factor logins, Google on Thursday laid out several safe password tips for users to follow, though some of the advice was fairly basic. "Use a different password for each important service" and "make your password hard to guess," the company said.

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