October 18, 2013, 11:06 AM — Embarrassing photos, bad poetry, MS Paint art...what you keep in your Dropbox account is your business. Two-factor authentication can help keep it that way.
Two-factor authentication combines your password with an additional one-time-use security code--typically sent to your cellphone via a text message--that you need to enter in order to log in. This makes it more difficult for someone to break into your account if they get a hold of your username and password.
To set up two-factor authentication for your Dropbox account, visit dropbox.com and log in to your account. Once you're logged in, select your name in the upper right corner of the window, then select Settings from the menu. Next, select the Security tab, and under the Account sign in heading, look for Two-step verification, and click Enable.
At this point, Dropbox will step you through the process of setting up two-factor authentication. When prompted, enter your Dropbox password and click Next. Dropbox will ask you whether you want to receive text messages containing your security code or use an authenticator app. If you have an unlimited text messaging plan, you might find that to be the most convenient approach. Otherwise, you may want to go the security app route instead.
Make your choice and select Next. If you choose to use a security app, Dropbox will provide you with some suggestions and instructions on what to do next, and step you through the process of verifying everything works.
If you choose to receive text messages, you'll be prompted to enter your cell phone number. Enter your number, press the Next button, and Dropbox will send you a code to verify that it works. Enter the code when prompted, then click Next again. Dropbox will ask you if you have a backup mobile number to send texts to: If you do, enter one in; if you don't, leave the box blank and click Next.
At the very end, Dropbox will verify your settings and provide you with a 16-digit emergency backup code that you can use if all else fails. Write this down and keep it in a safe place, then press Enable two-step verification to finish the setup process.
The next time you sign in to Dropbox, you'll be asked to enter in a security code after you enter your username and password. Type the security code you received when asked, and press Submit.