March 25, 2023

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A weird message about Twitter authentication? Don’t panic, it’s just to make you pay

Several colleagues and relatives tell us that they recently received a somewhat disturbing message on Twitter, since it threatens them with the end of their access to the social network. Message all the more surprising that people who have not activated double authentication have also received it. Is it yet another scam, like all those text messages telling you about the delivery of an unexpected package (NEVER click on the link contained in this text message) or inviting you to call back a telephone number (surcharged of course)? Well no, it is indeed a message from Twitter.

Alert message received in Twitter: “you must remove two-factor authentication via SMS”

Explanation: since 2013, any Twitter user concerned about maximum security could activate two-factor authentication. This security system (abbreviated and in English: 2FA) consists of doubling the verification channels, with an additional telephone number: in addition to the online password, you will have to use an SMS to confirm that on the Internet it is is you – system used in particular by many e-commerce sites and banks, to validate a purchase or a transfer for example. Depending on the case, you have to say “yes” or “no” if it is you who made such an expense or such a transfer, copy a code sent in the SMS on the Web, etc.

The sequel after the ad

From SpaceX to Twitter, what is Elon Musk’s real project?

Why give away what you can sell, especially when you’ve paid $44 billion to buy a social network and do whatever you want with it? Elon Musk, the new and versatile owner of the premises, accused the telephone operators of making money – 60 million dollars a year according to him – on the back of Twitter thanks to their SMS.

Twitter therefore announced on its blog the same day, February 18, that this option will soon be reserved for paid accounts.

In other words, Twitter Blue accounts, the lowest price of which is 8.40 euros per month in France. So one of two things, for users of the social network:

either you pay to be entitled to this enhanced security (there have still been a few cases of vulnerability found in Twitter’s double authentication);

The sequel after the ad

either you take the risk to be more easily hacked from March 20. Avoid using a basic password (azerty, 1234 and a few others unfortunately still widely used) and above all have a specific password for each site or app (hacking one will not lead to the other if you don’t keep the same password-everywhere…), and you still won’t run that many risks. And go test out alternatives, like Mastodon despite its imperfections, before you have to deal with Elon Musk’s next brilliant idea.

How to choose a truly invulnerable password?

– and there is a third possibility (yes, out of two advertised, a variant of the old joke “In the world, there are 10 categories of people: those who know binary and those who don’t”): use Twitter AND an (external) double authentication app, a case where it would remain free (said Musk on Saturday February 18).

Examples of two-factor authentication apps are given here: