Adding multi-factor authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication (2FA) is a popular measure to protect your high-value online accounts. 2FA as a type or subset of MFA is a method of confirming users’ claimed identities by using a combination of two different factors of following: 1) something they know (password), 2) something they have (a token), or 3) something they are (your fingerprint).
MFA is a popular measure as it adds a layer of security between your data and the attackers. After adding this protective layer, it becomes much more challenging for attackers to intercept your email, steal funds from your bank account, or hijack your social media account. The MFA is the classic “something you know” (your sign-in credentials) and “something you have” (the mobile device that you’ve configured with a shared secret). Nowadays, the most basic form of 2FA is installing an authenticator app on your mobile phone as a secondary form of proof of identity when it is needed. The app will generate a Time-based One-time Password Algorithm (TOTP) code while you are trying to sign in on an untrusted device.
There are many choices of MFA/2FA authenticator app such as Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, and Authy. When choosing the right authentication apps for yourself, you should look at the app that fits your life. For example, Google Authenticator app may not be suitable for many people.
Google Authenticator was one of the earliest 2FA apps released and has a lot of fans. However, because of it doesn’t work for everyone. If you switch your phone, installing and synicing up the apps all over again can be a pain. Further, the app doesn’t work if you are using it across multiple devices.
These drawbacks may not impact severely on our security as the functionality of MFA/2FA is still working. However, the inconvenient design of Google Authentication may impact on your workflow and efficiency. Therefore, it may be a good idea to look around at the alternatives on offer if you are still using Google Authenticator. Other authentication apps like Microsoft Authenticator, can be used across several devices simultaneously.
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