Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has expanded its two-step verification security feature for digital purchases and password resets to several new countries, reports 9to5Mac. Although two-step verification has long been available in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the U.S., and the UK, Apple recently rolled out this enhanced security feature for Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Spain.
Apple first introduced the two-step verification feature for some users in March of last year, soon after a security hole was discovered in the iPhone maker’s iForgot password reset page. The security hole allowed hackers to use a victim’s date of birth and Apple ID to bypass any security questions by sending a specially crafted URL directly to Apple, which would then prompt an automatic password change without requiring any further information. However, Apple quickly patched the security hole and later implemented another layer of security through the two-step verification service.
As noted by 9to5Mac, Apple also briefly activated the service for several additional countries last May. However, the initial debut of the service in those countries appeared to be a mistake and was quickly removed by Apple without explanation. Despite the cancellation, users in some of those markets reported that the service was still available, albeit without the SMS verification feature, reports MacRumors.
However, the full two-step verification service appears to be here to stay this time, based on the new support pages for some of the newly added countries. Apple has listed the countries where the two-step security feature is available, alongside the supported wireless carriers in each market.
As explained on Apple’s support page, the two-step verification feature requires users to verify their identities before signing into their Apple ID accounts. This is done by sending a 4-digit verification code to one or more trusted devices that the user has already registered. The user is then required to enter this 4-digit code along with their usual password.
The two-step verification process is required before a user can make a purchase from a new device in the iTunes, App Store, or iBooks Store. As noted by Apple, the verification code can be sent by SMS or through the Find My iPhone app.
As part of the two-step verification system, Apple also provides a 14-digit recovery key in case the trusted device is lost or destroyed, or if the user forgets their password. Although Apple encourages users to take advantage of the extra security that two-step verification offers, the service is optional and users always have the ability to deactivate the feature after they turn it on.
Follow Nathanael on Twitter (@ArnoldEtan_WSCS)