Security

Amazon offers stronger protection for your account

Two-factor authentication requires both a password and verification code delivered to your mobile phone.

amazon-security-code.jpg

You can now add an extra level of security to your Amazon account.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Concerned about the security of your Amazon account? You can now beef it up by requiring an extra layer of verification.

Amazon is offering a new security option called two-factor authentication, The Verge noticed on Wednesday. The Seattle-based online retail giant made no official announcement and did not immediately respond to CNET's request for confirmation and comment. But the option can be enabled now in users' account settings.

Two-factor authentication tries to ensure that you are the owner of an online account by requiring two methods of identification when you log in -- typically your password and some type of code or PIN that you receive on your mobile phone.

Breaches have become all too common for companies entrusted with consumers' personal information. Retail giant Target, for instance, was hit by a hack in late 2013 that affected as many as 110 million customers. A hack against fellow retailer Home Depot in mid-2014 exposed 56 million unique credit cards.

Hacks against retailers often expose credit card data along with other personal information. Many sites respond by implementing stronger security on the back end. But ultimately, you're in charge of your own account, so a method like two-factor authentication gives you the power to better protect yourself.

How can Amazon users set up two-factor authentication? Here are the steps:

  • First, log into your Amazon account.
  • Click the Your Account link in the upper right corner of the page.
  • On the Your Account page, click the link to Change Account Settings in the Settings section.
  • On the Change Account Settings page, click the Edit button for Advanced Security Settings.
  • A page on Two-Step Verification pops up with a description of how the process works. Click the Get Started button.
  • On the next page, you can choose how you'll receive codes. You have two options: 1) Receive a text message on your phone; or 2) Download an authenticator app to your phone for times when you have no cellular service.
  • Let's try the first option. Under the field to enter the phone number where you want to receive codes, ensure that the correct country is listed, type your mobile phone number and then click the Send Code button.
  • Check your mobile phone for the Amazon security code code. Type the number in the field to enter the code and then click the Verify code and continue button.
  • At the page to add backup method, choose whether you want to receive future codes by text message or voice. Let's try voice for this one. Type a different phone number in the necessary field, such as your landline. Click the Send Code button.
  • Answer your phone and type the code given in the recorded message. Click the button to Verify code and continue.
  • At the bottom of the next page, click off the check mark for the option "Don't require codes on this device." Then click the button to Turn on Two-Step Verification.
  • Log out of your Amazon account. (Click the Your Account link in the upper right corner of the page and then click the Sign out link at the bottom of the menu.)
  • Log back into your account. You'll receive a code on your mobile phone. Type the number and then click Sign in button. You'll now use that same process each time you wish to log into your Amazon account.

You can also try downloading and configuring Amazon's authenticator app, but the above method is simpler once you set it up.