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Two-Step Computer Security Might Double the Hassle, But Also The Safety

While many people might not yet know the term “two-factor authentication,” chances are they’ve run up against it in recent years when they wanted to check their email, or perhaps a bank balance.

It’s a security measure that’s become increasingly common, where the user needs not only a password, but also a confirmation code that might be texted or emailed. Sometimes it involves a whole separate phone or computer app that will prompt the user to click a button whenever an account log-in is initiated.

Now, that second step has become part of the government’s national security plans, as details trickle out about the recent hack at the federal Office of Personnel Management.

Steve Henn, NPR’s technology correspondent, who also works on NPR’s Planet Money podcast, joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to talk about enhanced computer security, and why we need it.


  • Steve Henn, technology correspondent for NPR. He tweets at @HennsEggs.
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

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