PayPal has had a rather sorted past when it comes to keeping its customers’ best interest in mind. In the late 90’s, their customer service was not good at all and they had a tendency to close accounts at random with seemingly little recourse for the consumer. PayPal has spent the last 5 years improving their customer service, making things more transparent, and doing a better job to keep its consumer’s accounts safe and reliable.
PayPal accounts are frequently targeted in phishing attempts and other online scams. In a measure to prevent unwanted individuals from accessing its customer’s PayPal accounts, they have created what they call the PayPal Security Key. In essence, it’s a small dongle that you will carry around with you that gives you a 6 digit number that changes every minute. When you login to your PayPal account, it will ask you for the number being displayed on your Security Key, and if you can’t produce the number, it won’t let you into the account. You can also use the PayPal security key to protect your eBay account if have the desire to.
How does this improve the protection on one’s PayPal account? Instead of simply relying on something you know to let you into your account (single factor authentication), it moves into the world of multi-factor authentication and requires you to have something you have in addition to something you know. ATM Cards are relatively secure because you need the actual card, and you need to know the pin number before you can do any damage with it. The PayPal security key keeps you safe in the same way. This way if someone gets access to your PayPal username and password through nefarious means, they still won’t be able to get into your account because they don’t have the key.
The key it self uses RSA encryption to generate a 6 digit number every 30 seconds. It’s very modern encryption and is unlikely to be cracked anytime soon. They PayPal Security Key only cost $5.00, and they’ll mail it to you in about 10 business days. Right now it’s being offered in the United States, Germany, and Australia but the company has indicated that it will be expanding the service to additional countries soon.
The PayPal Security Key is a must for anyone with a PayPal or eBay account. eBay and PayPal are perhaps the two most targeted companies when it comes to online scams and phishing attempts. Having a security key will protect you from all of them. You’ll never have to worry about someone hacking into your computer and collecting what you’re typing, or clicking on the wrong email and accidentally typing in your credentials to a non-PayPal site. It’s just no longer an issue.