Dropbox upgrades security with two-factor authentication

Users who desire a higher level of security can enter a one-time passcode

The file-sharing utility Dropbox is now offering two-factor authentication, a system that makes it much harder for hackers to capture valid credentials for a person's account.

Dropbox, one of the most widely used web-based storage services, said last month it planned on introducing two-factor authentication after user names and passwords were stolen from another website and used to access accounts.

While it is relatively easy for hackers to obtain a person's user name and password using malware and social engineering, it is much harder for them to intercept one-time passcodes, although it is possible. The codes, sent by SMS (short message service) or generated by a device, expire quickly.

Users will first need to upgrade their client to version 1.5.12. The feature can be turned on through Dropbox's website on the "security" tab in a person's account settings. Users can opt to receive the six-digit code sent by SMS to their mobile phone when a new device is used to access their account.

A valid code can also be obtained by using an application that supports the Time-Based One-Time Password protocol, such as Google Authenticator, Amazon AWS MFA or Authenticator, according to Dropbox. Apple users can opt to generate a code from the terminal application using the OATH tool, Dropbox said.

While setting up two-factor authentication, users get a 16-digit backup code that can be used to unlock their account if they lose their phones and can't obtain codes through SMS or an application.

Dropbox users have reported a few problems on the company's forum, but were generally positive. Dropbox employee "Dan W." wrote on the forum that since SMS codes expire in about a minute, the company is working to make SMS deliveries faster, as well as adding new carriers.

"In the meantime, if SMS delivery is slow, I recommend using an offline app instead," he wrote.

Dropbox is also working on a feature for users to "untrust" their current browser or all other browsers, which would mean a code would be required upon the next attempted login. Dan W. wrote that "in the meantime, for testing purposes, you can untrust a computer by deleting Dropbox cookies."

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?