In the wake of the recent naughty celebrity photo leak, Apple finally beefs up iCloud security. Apple sent out notifications urging users to enable 2-factor (or two-step) authentication if they haven’t already done so.

What’s 2-Factor Authentication?

2-factor authentication (basically a form of authentication in addition to a password) prevents “hackers” from accessing your secured data/services just by guessing a password. When you log in you need to authenticate your device with a random code. Apple’s had this in place for a while now, but the problem is that it only applied to certain Apple services, mostly services that had financial information. Now they’ve extended the protection to other services like their iCloud photo storage. Had this been in place before, the celebrity leaks would not have been possible in the way they were achieved in the recent scandal.

Should I Enable 2-Factor Authentication?

While the security is far from foolproof, there’s absolutely no reason NOT to enable 2-factor for your AppleID. In fact, you should enable 2-factor authentication for EVERY service that offers it, and there are a lot (DropBox, Google, Twitter and Facebook, just to name some of the big ones). DO IT! DO IT NOW!

In the case of Apple, just log in to the AppleID site, click on the manage button and log in. Then you go to the “Password and Security” section and turn on 2-step verification. Once you’ve done that you can authorize your Apple devices. Then, whenever you need to log on to an Apple service, a random 4-digit code will be sent to one of your authorized devices. Punch in the code and you’re authorized! 2-factor or multifactor authentication works like that for most services. You can also generate application specific passwords for any third party applications that don’t directly support 2-factor authentication. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is, and it’s really a much more secure way to access your data and services.