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Apple releases two-factor authentication

Apple's online users can now enable two-step verification for added security when purchasing media or managing settings in their Apple ID and iCloud accounts.

The tech giant made the feature available to users Thursday. Apple now follows the lead of Google, which also provides two-factor authentication for its online account users.

Apple's two-factor verification requires users to go through a second login step using a unique code when users make account changes, like resetting their password, or purchase items from an untrusted device via iTunes or the App Store. The four-digit verification code is sent to a trusted device via text message or through Apple's “Find My iPhone” notification feature.

“Turning on two-step verification reduces the possibility of someone accessing or making unauthorized changes to your account information at My Apple ID or making purchases using your account,” a Thursday post on Apple's support page said.

Users can set up two-factor verification by logging in to manage their Apple ID account, then selecting “password and security,” and clicking “get started” under the two-step verification section.

Last August, Apple took temporary steps to beef up its security after Wired reporter Mat Honan's online accounts were hacked.

After the attacker gained access to Honan's Amazon account, they were then able to break into his Apple ID account, wiping clean his iPhone, iPad and MacBook and gaining access to his Twitter account.

At the time of the incident, Apple suspended the option for users to reset Apple ID passwords via its call centers, while it determined a more secure way to verify the identity of customers wishing to reset passwords.

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