Yes, two-factor authentication is an important layer of security to add to your online accounts, but you’re still vulnerable to hacking if you receive codes via text message. The best way to manage these quick codes is to use an authenticator app, such as Google Authenticator or Twilio Authy. When using an authenticator app, multi-factor codes are available within the app instead of text.
Want to switch from SMS-governed two-factor authentication (2FA) to a more secure option? Here’s how to get started with Google Authenticator, what’s changed recently about the app, and how to access your codes within the app.
How do I set it up?
To get started, download the app to your smartphone or tablet. Google Authenticator is available for iOS and Android. Open the app and tap on File getting started button. You will have the option to either sign in with your Google account or use the app without signing in. If you are signed in, Google Authenticator will save your 2FA data. More on this in a moment.
The next step is to choose the online account you want to set up with Google Authenticator. The websites you visit often support multi-factor authentication through the application. From Amazon and Gmail to TikTok and Dropbox, the steps are a little different, but the overall process is basically the same.
Once you select an account, the rest of the setup can be done in one of two ways. You can either scan the QR code using the camera on your smartphone or enter the code manually.
Let’s use Amazon’s login process as an example. Your first option is to sign in to your Amazon account on a laptop, go to account page, and select Login and security. Then press His job For two-factor authentication and getting started on the next page. The preset option you will see is to receive codes via text message. Instead, select the File option Authentication application.
When you see the QR code on your laptop screen, open the Google Authenticator app on your phone. Tap on the plus sign in the lower right corner of the app and then Scan the QR code. Decide if you want to allow the app to access your camera; Otherwise, you will need to enter the codes manually. Scan the barcode with your smartphone and an expired code will appear in the app and keep renewing. Next, type the six-digit code into your laptop. I acknowledge that older devices may require a special login process for two-factor authentication codes and completion of the setup process.
What’s new in it?
In the past, a common criticism of Google Authenticator was that all your codes were locked into one phone. If you lose your device on a wild night out with friends or a thief steals it from your hands, it can be difficult or impossible to get into your connected accounts. Likewise, if you’ve upgraded your phone, it can be difficult to scan all of the QR codes for your sites and services or to export and import them to the new device and set everything up again.
In addition to some design changes, Google has recently added functionality that allows your icons to be synced via your Google account. When you’re in the Authenticator app, you’ll see a green cloud with a checkmark in the upper-right corner next to your profile picture that says your codes have been synced. Note that you must be signed in to use this feature, so if you use Google Authenticator without signing in, you will either have to sign in to store information in your account or export and import your data on new devices the old fashioned way.
Well, now give me those monotonous icons
So, you’ve set it up and synced the codes with your Google account. What then? When you sign in to any accounts you’ve connected to Google Authenticator, you’ll open the app, locate the non-permanent code associated with that account, and use it to finish the process.
Are you looking for more ways to protect your online accounts? An authenticator app isn’t your only option for enhanced security. In fact, you can protect your most important logins with a physical security key.