Garmin has added the option to switch on 2FA to protect sensitive details on your account. It allows you to add some extra security on top of your smartphone app or when you sign into the Garmin website.
We wrote last week that Fitbit has introduced the same type of protection for its customers. However, unknown to most, Garmin had beaten Fitbit to the punch. It quietly introduced 2FA protection a couple of weeks ago.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is 2FA?
You can never be too careful these days. It’s no wonder companies are willing to pay for data – it is a hot commodity. But this also makes it attractive to people with nefarious intentions.
You might think that having a password is enough – and in many cases it might be. But people tend to reuse same passwords, plus such info can be leaked by companies. Not to mention that viruses, malware and key logging tools can find their way to your computer and capture such information.
This is why adding an extra layer of security is important. It is where 2FA comes in. Many people have heard of this by now – it stands for two-factor (or dual-factor) authentication.
What it does is it asks for another form of identification after you have entered the correct password. This is a code which can be sent to your mobile or email address, or can be generated by the use of a third-party authenticator app.
Yes, it is a hassle to have to go through another step in the process of logging in, but it does give you peace of mind. This type of security has become standard these days and it will stay with us until companies come up with something better.
Why would I want 2FA on my Garmin?
The 2FA has nothing to do with the smartwatch on your wrist. Rather it is something that is used to protect the Garmin Connect app. It also adds extra security when logging into the Garmin website.
There are plenty of examples of wearable accounts being hijacked. Some companies have even sent out emails in the past asking their customers to change their login details.
Remember when Garmin was held to ransom last year? The company reportedly had to pay a multi-million dollar ransom to regain control of its data. Ransomware attacks are not as uncommon as you may think. It’s a scary thought. Adding 2FA may not protect you from such attacks but it will help secure sensitive info on your account.
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A comforting thought is that transactions and card information are not stored or shared on Garmin devices or their servers. So in that sense you don’t need to worry. Garmin Pay protects you by using watch-specific card numbers and transaction codes.
But there is other info that can be attractive to others. For example, attackers can use account data to ask for a replacement device (per their warranty) and then selling it. Then there is GPS, a staple of any self-respecting sports watch. Someone might use that type of data to work out where you live and when you are not at home.
In today’s world, any app that has any personal information should have to use 2FA of some sort. It is essential.
How to use 2FA on to protect your Garmin account
2FA is something Garmin users have been asking for a long time. As mentioned, the feature was finally added a couple of weeks ago.
Here is how to enable 2FA:
- You will need to head over to the Account Management Center web page. This can be accessed by clicking on this link. Another option is open the Garmin Connect app, click on More>Settings>Profile & Privacy>Manage Garmin Account.
- Choose Update Sign-on Settings
- Enter your login details (if asked to).
- Then you’ll see the option to protect your account with 2FA.
- You can choose for the code to be sent to E-mail. This can only be the primary email on the account. If you want to use a different one you’ll need to change the email address of your account.
- The other option is to use a phone. In this case you’ll need to enter the number you would like to use. Garmin will send you a code to validate the number.
From this point on, whenever you log into your account, you’ll get an SMS message or email with a code. You will not be able to log into your account without this. Disabling 2FA can be done from the smartphone app – the procedure is as described above.
Now this doesn’t mean you will need the code to open your Garmin Connect app each time. Just like you don’t need to enter your password each time.
But you will need it if you sign out of the app and are required to enter your password again to sign back in. Essentially, whenever you need to type your password, you will also be asked for your 2FA code.
The Final word
It is excellent that Garmin has finally come around to adding this type of security. Particularly in light of the cyber attack it experienced last year.
For now there’s no option to use an authenticator app. There’s also no option to implement a “Trusted Device” option. Adding both of these will make 2FA more convenient to use.
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