Life is better in a world where everybody trusts everybody – for example, if you could always leave your car keys in your unlocked car, you’d never lose them again! But that’s not a world filled with humans, or pretty much any species in our “nature red in tooth and claw” world, alas – so the question is how to live a protected life that’s still enjoyable.

Online, that increasingly means using two-factor authentication: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a “12 Days of 2FA” holiday pitch to help people figure this out.

Under two-factor authentication, when you try to sign into an account using a password from a computer/phone that you’ve never used before, you also have to input a code sent to your smartphone or some other device – the idea being that if somebody has hacked your password, they’d still have to swipe your phone to get into the account.

It is a pain to use – not a huge pain, but a pain. But that’s the world we’re in.

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