Learning to two-step online

 By now, you've probably heard about the hackers who collected nude photos of celebrities.

Even if you aren't in the habit of taking nude photos of yourself and loading them to cloud services, you probably have some private information that is accessible online.

And you probably want to keep that secure.

Obviously, the most secure thing you could do would be to stay off the Internet, or if you do get online, avoid any website that requires any kind of login (although there still may be risks).

If you do plan on going online and you have any kind of online account — whether that's Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or countless other options — then I would recommend enabling two-step verification.

I'm not a technology expert in any way, shape or form, but people who I trust have been advocating two-step verification for years.

What is two-step verification? Simply put, it adds a second step to logging into your accounts, particularly when you are logging in from a different computer than you normally use.

Let's say I'm at my parents' house and I want to use their computer to login into my Google account to check my email. After entering my username and password, another screen pops up asking for my security code. 

Usually within 30 seconds I receive a text on my cell phone with the code. After I enter the code, I am able to access my account. The code is different every time.

For some of you this may sound like a hassle. From my experience, it really isn't bad.

What's the benefit of doing this? Well, if someone gets your username and password, then he or she would also have to have your cell phone (and be able to access your text messages) in order to get the code. 

Since the code changes randomly every few minutes, it's also harder for someone to guess the correct code.

It also provides a level of protection in another way. If you get a text telling you what your security code is and you aren't at a computer trying to login, then you'll know someone is trying to access your account.

If you want to learn more about enabling two-step verification, I would encourage you to read this column by David Pogue, a tech writer for Yahoo! (Click here http://goo.gl/pIwFNW.)

The column includes links to the settings pages for several different accounts to help you enable two-step verification if you would like to do so.