Dropbox offers an extra feature to help keep your account safe, but it's one that you'll need to enable: two-step verification.
For each new device you use to access the Dropbox website or service, you'll need to enter your current password and a security code using this new method. Here's how to set it up:
- Log in to your Dropbox account from a Web browser, then open the menu in the top-right corner and head to Settings > Security.
- Click Enable next to the Status for Two-step verification. After entering your password, you'll be prompted to pick a method of receiving authentication codes in the future.
You'll need to choose between receiving codes via SMS or using an authenticator app. SMS only requires a phone number and you're set. If you plan to use an authenticator app, follow these steps:
- Scan the bar code with your authenticator app of choice. Dropbox supports Google Authenticator (Android/iPhone/BlackBerry), Amazon AWS MFA (Android), Authenticator (Windows Phone 7), and Duo Mobile (Android/iPhone).
- Enter the six-digit code from SMS or the authenticator app into box on the website.
- Dropbox will now show you a 16-digit code to be used in case you lose your device. Keep this emergency backup code in a safe place. Click Enable and you're all set.
Adding extra security is always a good option, whether you feel there is sensitive data in the account or not. Just the smallest piece of stolen information can link to another account, leaving you and your private data vulnerable to those with ill intentions.
Now that Dropbox has two-step verification, hopefully more popular Web services will follow suit. This extra feature isn't going to protect you 100 percent of the time, but it's a step in the right direction.
Editors' note, June 12, 2015: This How To post was originally published on August 27, 2012 and has been updated to include new information.