My PayPal Security Key came in the mail today. If you’re not familiar with the PayPal Security Key, it’s a small electronic device that produces a secret code that’s designed to make PayPal and eBay access more secure. The key is an oval shaped pieced of plastic with a button and a display. It also comes with a small, but heavy duty key chain attachment.
The key is designed to be used in conjunction with a PayPal or eBay login. In order to use the key, it must first be activated. To activate the key, you must visit http://www.paypal.com/securitykey and click on the Activate Now button. (You can also request a PayPal Security Key from this page).
The activation page requests that you enter the serial number located on the back of the key. After you enter the serial number, you then press the button on the key and enter the number that appears. The number will disappear after thirty seconds, at which time you have to press the button again and enter the new number.
After you submit the serial number and the two secret numbers, you will then go to a PayPal Security Key Activation Successful page. The key also works with eBay, but must be activated separately.
Activation of the key automatically changes how you login to PayPal or eBay. For example, after you login to PayPal, you will be presented with a page that requests the key’s secret number. You must press the button on the key and enter the number in order to proceed.
This type of security is nothing new to corporations, but it’s the first time its been widely used with consumers. eBay chose to offer this type of security to help combat the recent rise in phishing attempts on PayPal and eBay accounts. Although there aren’t any full proof methods for consumer account security, this added layer of protection should make it much more difficult for criminals to gain access to user accounts.