PayPal, the reknowned online payment service has recently rolled out a hardware key, that adds an extra layer of security to your online transactions.
How does the so-called “Security Key” work?
The key is actually a small hardware device that works in conjunction with your PayPal and/or eBay account. Everytime you try to login into your account, you’ll be asked for a 6 digit number along with your normal login information (username & password). This information is generated by the key on a random basis, about every 30 seconds. That means everytime you login, you’ve to enter a different 6 digit figure. The key is customised for your account making it impossible for two such keys to generate the same number at the same time.
So how does that make my account secure?
Supposing you’re the victim of a Phishing Scam and somehow managed to give up your PayPal login information to the Phishers. Under normal circumstances they’d be able to login into your account and make good use (read abuse) of your money and credit cards associated with that account. However, now with this key – even if you unknowingly divulge your login credentials (as well as the current key code), no third person will be able to login anymore. When someone attempts to login with your stolen credentials, he/she is prompted for that 6 digit key again – which is going to be different than what had you used last time. The only possible means for someone else gain access to your account is to somehow physically rob you of the hardware key.
The key is really small and portable and can fit smugly on your keychain. You’d require to carry it around with you all the time anyway, as you are going to need it everytime you login. It’s now available for purchase for a one-time non-refundable fee of $5 from the PayPal Stores. There are no recurring (monthly or yearly) usage charges after that.