… but it’s only mildly inconvenient.
I’ve recently gone through several steps to ensure better security and privacy of my online services. These are pretty simple steps that anyone can manage.
On a security standpoint, I’ve enabled two factor authentication on any service I use that supports it. Two Factor Authentication is essentially a system that requires every service to use two passwords, one that the user has set up and knows, the other which is randomly generated and sent to the user by some means at the time of log in.
Examples… I have the Battlenet authenticator on my World of Warcraft account and a Microsoft Authenticator on my Microsoft account. Both of these services had an app that runs on my phone which will randomly generate a code (well, it’s not really random, it’s based on some encryption algorithms). When I log into either service, I must use my phone to view the code and enter the code into the application. Slightly inconvenient, but I tend to have my phone anyway.
Other services, such as Google will send me a text message with the code I need to enter. Some, such as Steam and origin will send an email.
This can make things slightly inconvenient. To log into Origin, for example, I would need to enter my Origin information into the application, then it will ask for a code. I then would need to log into my email which will also require authentication.
This is also made more complicated by additional privacy measures I’ve implemented. Sites remember this log in data using cookies. Cookies have been around for a while but are essentially small bits of code that are left on a user’s machine in order to identify them.
I’ve set up my machines to forget cookies when I close the browser. This means that each time I start fresh, the log in dance has to begin from scratch.
It also means that no one could access my data if the machine were physically accessed. Not as critical with a desktop in my basement but more important on a laptop that could be lost or stolen. Leaving those cookies could mean someone else would have access to my emails or possibly more important data like bank information, because I’d left a cookie enabled.
This also increases my privacy. The primary examples of of tracking with cookies are Google and Facebook. If I stay logged in n Facebook, then travel to other sites, Facebook can track my path across the web using the cookie they left on my computer. If there is no cookie, there is no tracking. These large companies are increasingly becoming more aggressive and intrusive with their advertising tracking, and it’s not something I really care to partake in.
Overall it’s slightly more inconvenient to access my data, but I can feel pretty good that way fewer people have access or potential access to it.