Amazon Finally Gives You Two-Factor Authentication

I’ve talked about this a million times on my science and tech podcast Sovryn Tech–actually, Amazon is a pet project of journalism for me–but with all of the things that Amazon released and developed as late, and the entire (honestly, impressive) digital ecosystem that they’ve created which comes with the ability to get nearly anything physical you could want to you inside of minutes in some areas…it’s near insulting for the company to not have Two-Factor Authentication as option for securing your getting-more-precious-by-they-day Amazon account.

Now, that has finally changed.

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By going to “Your Account” and looking at the “manage e-mail address, passwords, etc.” section there, you can go to “Advanced Settings” on that following page and now setup Two-Factor Authentication (or 2FA, as it’s called). Unless you’re a smaller site that doesn’t have anything to do with something you either physically or digitally own, or stores payment information of any kind (credit cards, etc.), there is no reason that your service or company shouldn’t have 2FA as an option. It is the baseline of extra security, and it’s not difficult to setup. So again, it’s near insulting that Amazon took so long to get it. Facebook has it. Twitter has it. Alphabet/Google has it. Steam has it. Itch.io has it. The list goes on and on. Companies large and small (especially in comparison to the juggernaut that is Amazon) have had it for years. What took Amazon so long to implement it? Honestly, I don’t have a clue. Maybe it’s just ineptitude. Regardless, if you have an Amazon account (and who doesn’t?), I fully recommend you go set this up right away.

I’ll admit I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Amazon. I’ve often said on Sovryn Tech that it will be the major tech company by 2017 (as in, it’s going to be Amazon vs. Samsung, instead of Apple vs. Google). And it’s ranking in various consumer realms proves the point I think: It’s nearly always in the Top 3 of whichever ranking. One of the things that got me started on my “Keep one eye on Amazon” kick was the announcement that they would resell their old Kindle Fire’s (Amazon’s inhouse-built tablets) to brick and mortar stores for Point-of-Sale systems. This led me to the theory that (and I still think it will come true) Amazon will eventually not just own online commerce (which really, they do, admit it), but that they will soon completely invade local retail in the physical realm, as well. And with Amazon “cash registers” all over the place, they could turn their Amazon Coin (their own little digital currency that doesn’t exactly compete with Bitcoin, but it also ensures that Amazon doesn’t directly need Bitcoin) into a full blown digital currency to rival any other form of money out there. It may take a little while for that to happen, but Amazon will have the key thing that any wild idea needs to actually take off: infrastructure. This infrastructure, however, creates one huge problem…”centralization”. And centralization, in my opinion, is anathema to having personal choice, which is the very heart of having freedom in your live. Centralization is bad, bad, bad…every time, any time.

Suffice to say, I watch this company like a hawk, and I’m just scratching the surface of what I think their plans are.

That said, though, Amazon is also one of the things that makes the Dark Android Project so viable. Because, amazingly, with the ability to grab Amazon gift cards through websites like Gyft.com using Bitcoin, and with the fact that Amazon–if you’re just a regular consumer–doesn’t really ask you to verify your identity at all, you can buy almost anything in the world in a pretty anonymous fashion. That’s where the “love” part comes in. They’ll ship anywhere, using any name, and they just don’t care. This may change in the future (and likely will), but for now, it’s a great deal for anonymous buyers.

And then from a purely run-of-the-mill consumer standpoint (as in, not my standpoint), this whole 2FA news should be exciting because the Amazon ecosystem is nearly feature complete. An Amazon Prime account can get you unlimited photo storage, unlimited cloud storage (they are now the only ones that offer that), the Amazon Prime Video alternative to Netflix (with the intriguing “Man on the High Castle” show, by the way), Amazon Prime Music that competes with Spotify and the rest, Kindle Unlimited (that has no peer), Amazon Underground appstore…the list is near endless. You can exist in Amazon’s digital ecosystem really nicely, and they’ll invade your physical world with Amazon Echo (that people seem to love, but I think is just a bunch of microphones in a cylinder to listen to you and bolster the Surveillance Society) and allow you to interact with that Amazon digital ecosystem better than any other company allows. And now all of that can be secured far better with 2FA, by either texting you security codes, or you using an authenticator app on your mobile device. In fact, I generally recommended people not use Amazon’s services simply because it didn’t have 2FA, and the stuff you’d be storing with them could be too precious to not have 2FA enabled. On a personal level, I still don’t recommend Amazon’s services, but for the average person, it’s a no-brainer, especially now.

But I’m sure you, like me, have an Amazon account and at least use some of their features, so get that 2FA activated immediately (and if you’re purchasing on Amazon, feel free to use this link so I can get a cut of the sale…shameless, I know, but honest). Yeah, 2FA can be annoying, but the headaches it creates are minor compared to the headaches it can prevent.

And Amazon, welcome to 2011. Took you long enough to get there. Maybe we’ll see you in 2015 soon.

Carpe lucem!

 

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