Instagram begins rolling out two-factor authentication

The company will use SMS codes to verify users' identity

Instagram on a smartphone screen

Instagram has finally added two-factor authentication (2FA), in response to calls for increased security.

"We are beginning to roll out two-factor authentication... to the Instagram community", a spokesperson said, adding that the company hopes to be rolling it out to the rest of its users at some point soon.

Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security, requiring users to have another form of identity verification in addition to a username and password.

In the case of Instagram, this will take the form of a verified phone number. If you or anyone else tries to log into your account on a new device, the app will send an authentication code to that number. Without the code, the account can't be accessed.

Instagram is one of the most popular apps in the world, with 400 million users and counting. It is also one of the most bankable, however, with some of the most influential users earning up to $15,000 (10,500).

With that much money on the line - not to mention billions of personal photos and data - it is understandable that people would want as much security as possible on their accounts.

Instagram is relatively late to the game in implementing 2FA, which parent company Facebook has offered for over four years, and most email and cloud service providers list as a standard option.

However, as with any security tool, its usefulness is somewhat user-dependent. When rival picture-messaging app Snapchat introduced two-factor authentication last year, security experts predicted that users simply would not care, and would never bother to turn it on.

One solution to this problem is to enable two-factor authentication by default, like many enterprise apps, or to make it mandatory once accounts hit a certain number of followers.

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