Blog
Jun 22nd, 2012

Coinbase now offers two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is a great way to make your Coinbase account more secure.

What is it?  Well, it’s a fancy word that basically means “getting a pin code on your cell phone” when you log in.  It makes things more secure by requiring:

  1. something you know (your password) 
  2. something you have (your phone)

…to access your account.  This is great because if someone steals your password they still won’t be able to access your account (they don’t have your phone).

It’s also not too much of a hassle, since we only require the second factor (phone verification) when you log in from a computer we haven’t seen before, or every 30 days (whichever comes first).  So if you’re using your regular computer you won’t be prompted for the pin code on your cell phone very often.

Here’s how it works:

1. Visit My Account and then click “Two Factor Authentication”

2. Click “Add A Phone”

Then choose a country, enter your phone number, and click “Verify Phone Number”.

3. You should now get an SMS with instructions

You’ll need to install the “Authy” app if you have a smart phone (iPhone, Android, or Blackberry).  If you don’t have a smart phone you can get the pin through regular SMS.

Enter the code (either from the Authy app or SMS) and click “Verify”.


Having a verified phone number means two-factor authentication is now enabled.


4. You now have Two-Factor Authentication!

The next time you sign in, you’ll be prompted to enter a pin code from your phone.

Conclusion

You won’t have to enter the verification code *every* time you sign in.  Once we’ve verified a particular computer, you can use it sign in for the next 30 days without re-authenticating with your phone.  But if you sign in from a new computer we haven’t seen before, you’ll be prompted for the pin code again.

It’s also a good idea to add a backup phone number to your Coinbase account (either someone you trust or another phone you have).  This makes it easier to regain access to your account if you lose your primary phone.  There is a manual recovery process if you don’t have this, but it can take longer.  You don’t need to verify the backup phone number if the other person isn’t nearby.

Try setting up two-factor authentication today and let us know if you encounter any issues.  We think it will really help make your Coinbase account more secure!