authentication

Use Authy for 2-Factor Authentication

Since many sites now allow (or even require) 2-factor authentication, it's a good idea to use an authentication app on your smartphone to get the security code. This is a much more secure method, because codes texted over SMS could be intercepted. There's also the danger of SIM cards being duplicated or even hijacked with some creative social engineering. The Authy app for iOS or Android is a good option, because it sends a secret number and combines it with the time of day so the code changes after 30 seconds.

How can I authenticate an old version of Windows?

Windows 7

Episode 1477

Ed from Santa Maria, CA

Ed had to reinstall an old version of Windows and when he tried to authenticate it, it won't let him verify with a serial number. Leo says that's probably because Microsoft has discontinued the authentication server and turned it off. So he can't activate it, and it will expire in 30 days. There's probably a workaround though if he does a Google search. Microsoft really should keep it running for people like Ed. He may be able to call them and get it authenticated, but it may just be time to move on.

How to Set Up Two-Factor Authentication

Leo has talked a lot on the Tech Guy show about using two factor authentication wherever possible to ensure the security of your online accounts. Two factor authentication requires more than just a 1 factor to login. This could include two of the following: something you are (such as biometrics like fingerprints or iris scans), something you know (a password), or something you have (a smartphone or hardware key). This could be called many things, including “Two-Step Verification” and “Two-Factor Authentication” depending on the site.

How can I authenticate Windows 10 after replacing my motherboard?

Windows Start Menu

Episode 1375

John from Portland, ME

John wants to know if he can reactivate Windows after replacing the Motherboard. Leo says he probably can. He'll just have to contact Microsoft and tell them what he's had to replace, and they will understand and authenticate. If he replaced more than half the computer, they may take issue. But with just replacing the motherboard, he should be able to get it authenticated. Windows may reject him when he tries, but then he can just contact Microsoft.

Will Microsoft ever stop authenticating Windows XP?

Episode 1080

Jeff from Sun Valley, CA

Jeff has a few Windows XP machines and wants to know if Microsoft will continue to support Windows Genuine Advantage for it to reinstall it. Leo says they will continue to allow that. Just don't expect them to release any new patches. Does he have enough RAM at 3GB? Leo says that is plenty, especially since Windows XP is 32 bit and can only see 4GB.

Are third parties using my credit history to authenticate me online?

Episode 988

Larry from San Diego, CA

Larry recently has had websites ask him security questions from some third party database. He's concerned because he's being asked these questions on sites that shouldn't have information on him already. Leo says that financial transactions and other personal information will be pulled by credit reporting agencies to verify you are who you say you are. Larry is concerned because of errors on his credit report, and worse, it gets people used to having their personal data as public information.