I have a vendor account on Amazon to sell dead-tree copies of RebelFire and Hardyville Tales. Yesterday I logged in, only to learn that as of next Tuesday, all vendors will be required to have two-factor identification or be locked out of their accounts.
Well, that’s rather short notice. But I don’t mind two-factor ID.
So today, Amazon nags me again and I click … and discover the ID can only be by phone. No email. Grumble. I absolutely hate the damn noisybox telephone. But what can I do? I choose SMS over voice. They send me a code. I input the code. And I naively imagine I’m all set.
But no. Inputting the code takes me to another screen … where I’m required to choose between SMS and voice to get a code on a second backup phone number.
Like everybody in the whole freakin’ universe has two phones? And again, no email option. No nothing option. You must have a second phone OR ELSE.
I see a checkbox for “skip verification.” But when I click it, instead of allowing me to finish logging in, Amazon merely takes me to the same screen, demanding that second phone number. Repeatedly.
It has to be a number where I can receive a code ASAP. What to do? There is a solution, but I’m flustered and don’t think of it at that moment. I input a friend’s cellphone number, hoping she won’t kill me.
Then I text her my most dire apologies and ask her to send me the code. She does — after giving my message a smarter security test of her own. And she even does it without threatening vile harm to my body (though she told me when the code came in she feared a stranger had just ordered a Rolex on her Amazon account).
I explain. And now I’m off to get some fake — but useful enough to receive a code — number to slip into my settings place of hers. That’s the solution that didn’t come to mind in my moment of flusterment.
But what stupid, stupid, stupid security! Two-factor identification is fine and dandy. Assuming everyone on the planet has constant access to two telephones is freakin’ idiotic.
it’s very nearly as idiotic as the move the Social Security Administration pulled a year or so back when they announced that all their clients, including the most doddering ancients, would be required to have SMS-capable phones to access their SS accounts. They at least gave enough notice for the entire bumbling plan to be shouted down and eventually changed to a method that offered more realistic options.
With Amazon I can — after the fact — designate one device as “trusted” and avoid the code problem in the future, as long as I allow permanent cookies. Or I can get a special app — for the smartphone I don’t use, lucky me. But receive a code by email? When I looked up the FAQ on the new two-factor system, their robot informed me sniffily that email would be insufficiently secure. Clearly Amazon knows what’s best for the rest of us, even if it’s going to be impossible for many of us.
Well, Jeff Bezos, no doubt you and your well-paid Seattle underlings can afford all the phones you want. But not all the rest of us are so highfalutin’.
Just hope this arrogant system isn’t coming soon to your Amazon buyer account, too. So far I’m seeing it only on my vendor account. And may it go no farther. But if it does, don’t forget those fake one-time (or monthly subscription) phone numbers available online.