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FaceTime and iMessage users now protected by two-step authentication

Apple is boosting the security of its iMessage and FaceTime apps by adding the two-factor authentication protection already available for iTunes and iCloud.

The idea is to prevent unauthorised parties logging into the account, even if they have the user’s username and password.

The tech will require those logging in to confirm their identities using a secondary device if they wish to access the messaging and VoIP clients.

So, if users on iOS or Mac OS X devices want to log into either app they’ll need to enter a four digit security code most commonly sent to their phone or another gadget associated with the Apple ID.

Only when the security code is entered will Apple fans be able to use iMessage and FaceTime as normal.

The two-factor authentication requires some users to set up a stronger, harder-to-guess password, while also generating an app-specific password for iMessage and FaceTime. The process can be a little confusing but Apple explains it on its support pages here.

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The bolstering of iMessage and FaceTime security is considered long overdue, but Apple still has work to do, Rik Ferguson, vice president of security research at Trend Micro, told The Guardian.

“It’s really great to see Apple extending its two-step authentication to cover more services, particularly person-to-person communication services such as these, which have been so widely abused in the past (Facebook, Skype etc).

“Two-step authentication, such as a message to a mobile device, is still not the same as fully-fledged two-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication typically relies on something that you know (a password) in addition to either something you have (eg. a swipe card), or something that you are (a fingerprint).”

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