"More than a year ago, we began bringing two-step verification for certain critical activities, like editing credit cards and subscriptions at commerce.microsoft.com and xbox.com, or accessing files on another one of your computers through SkyDrive.com. For these scenarios, two-step verification is required 100 percent of the time for everyone, given the sensitive nature of these tasks," explained Eric Doerr, Group Program Manager, Microsoft account.
"With this release you can choose to protect your entire account with two-step verification, regardless of what service (or device) you are using with your Microsoft account."
The option can be used on any software and device users usually use to access their accounts.
To get the security code, Windows Phone device users can download the Microsoft Authenticator app. iOS and Android can use the Google Authenticator app or any other app that is compatible with Microsoft account two-step verification.
The verification code can also be received via email or SMS.
Application specific passwords can also be used, and there is the helpful option for notifying Microsoft which devices users regularly use so that they don't have to enter the code every time they want to access their account through them.
"Two-step verification is a great tool to help protect your account, but it does require you to be careful to keep your account up to date," warns Doerr.
"If you know your password but lose access to your secondary security proof, customer support cannot update it for you. Your only option is to go through a recovery process that enforces a 30 day wait before you regain access to your account – to ensure someone malicious hasn’t used this as a way to take over your account. And if you lose access to your password AND all your security info, you will not be able to regain access to your account."
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