GADGET DESIGNER Apple has added the option of two-factor authentication to its iCloud service.
Apple said on its support website that users will now be able to enable additional security protection that combines the traditional username and password with a four-digit randomly generated access code.
Now iCloud will allow users to configure a trusted third device, such as an iPhone, which will receive the access code. Upon attempting to log in, users will give their username and password, then the access code they received via SMS or Find My iPhone Notifications.
Apple is recommending that users enable the two-factor authentication option to increase the security of their devices and prevent the loss of accounts due to password theft.
"Your Apple ID is the key to many important things you do with Apple, such as purchasing from the iTunes and App Stores, keeping personal information up-to-date across your devices with iCloud, and locating, locking, or wiping your devices," Apple said.
"Two-step verification is a feature you can use to keep your Apple ID as secure as possible."
Upon signing up, Apple said that it will also provide users with a 14-digit recovery code that can be used to reset the options should the user forget their password or lose their designated mobile device. Apple recommends that users print and store the code in a safe place.
The use of two-factor authentication has grown increasingly popular in recent years as cloud services and social networking websites have sought to provide additional protections beyond the username and password combinations, which can often be guessed or obtained by hackers through phishing websites.
Companies including Facebook and Dropbox offer two-factor authentication options for users through mobile devices, while companies such as Paypal and Verisign have long-offered mobile and keyfob based two-factor authentication to protect financial transactions. µ