Tech

Twitter Finally Breaks Free from the Two-Factor Authentication Limitations

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated November 22, 2019

Twitter users will finally be able to use the platform’s two-factor authentication system without having to provide their phone number. As announced by the Twitter Safety team, users are now able to securely authenticate their logins to the social media platform with a single tap. Up until now, the only option was getting an SMS and entering the shared code on the confirmation box. While this should be enough to make most people feel safe, it is not a method that it’s invincible. As we saw in August, Twitter was reminded of this fact after the account of the company’s CEO was taken over by SIM swapping hackers.

https://twitter.com/TwitterSafety/status/1197621020229804054

This incident was a high-profile proof of why SMS-based 2FA isn’t secure enough. This is why Twitter implemented the WebAuthn authentication standard, which is approved by the World Wide Web Consortium. WebAuthn is a well-supported standard which is able to exchange user credentials using public-key cryptography while being resistant to phishing and code-stealing methods (nothing is visible to the user). Finally, hardware keys such as smartphones or Yubikeys are also supported by WebAuthn, so this becomes a possibility for Twitter users now.

If you try to change your 2FA settings on Twitter right now, note that you may not be offered the phone-less option yet. The new option is being currently rolled out in stages, so not everyone will get it immediately. In the meantime, the platform is also introducing a new option that was previously only available in Canada, the United States, and Japan. This new feature enables users to hide replies in their threads, selectively picking the ones that they don’t want to appear there. The user may hide and unhide a reply any time they want, while another user can see it after tapping on the option to see the original tweet.

twitter-hide-reply

Source: Android Police

This new feature is being gradually rolled out globally, giving users more power over what their tweet thread looks like, and enabling them to disregard replies that are not relevant to the main essence of a post. Conversation derailment is a common problem on social media discussions, and this feature is aimed at helping the topic starter to retain some control over the tone and direction of a conversation that develops under their posts.

Are you using Twitter, or will you be using it from now on? If you are, don’t forget to check our own handle there, keeping up with the news, and commenting on our stories. Otherwise, there’s always Facebook.



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