Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has upgraded its security detail and login security requirements to a two-step authentication process for iMessage and FaceTime. This new change may have been felt necessary by the Cupertino giant after its 2014 Apple update that allowed Apple users to access their iMessage and video calls across multiple Apple devices such as an iPad, Mac or an iPhone. This multi-device functionality was aimed at popularizing a seamless user experience for Apple users when it came to the iMessage service. However, this interoperability also exposed users to security vulnerabilities and loss of access details.
This additional layer of security is aimed at protecting Apple’s users against hackers who may gain access to sensitive personal information through Apple’s messaging chat application and FaceTime video chat. With the current functionality, users were exposed more than they would have if iMessage had not been made interoperable across multiple Apple devices. This extra layer of security will also be available for FaceTime along with Apple’s iMessage service. Trend Micro system’s vice president of Rik Ferguson acknowledged the better safety features that came with Apple’s two step authentication process even as he observed past abuses in relation to Facebook and Skype.
So how does this work? Since it has become a two-step process, entering login details alone won’t get you through to the services on your device. Additionally, the user will be required to provide a second security code to verify their messaging and video chat accounts.
Providing two-step verification will improve the security factor by using an additional layer in its security feature. In addition to the password, it will ask the users to enter a computer generated security pin from an additional secondary device, while logging into your account. Even hackers accessed a physical access to your device, they cannot access your account without having the secondary device of yours. This makes your account more secure when compared to the ordinary method of signing into your account.
While the two-step authentication process discourages hackers because they would need the additional extra code after entering the login details, it also may lessen user experience if they have to remember two levels of account passwords for the same service or application. Keeping both the security aspect as well as its user’s interest in mind, the two step authentication process is currently not mandatory and can be implemented at the user’s discretion. This security measure is currently optional.
However, security experts have also noted that the two-step authentication process is not the same as a two factor authentication. The latter is considered to be more secure than the former method, chiefly because the two factor method relies on two different authentication processes.
The first one usually is the login detail that needs to be entered, and the second involves authentication via fingerprint, or retina display or a swipe card. Security experts have not expressed complete satisfaction with the recent upgrade of security measures, but Apple may first want to test its user experience before making any major significant changes in its security layers for Apple’s devices.
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