The Digital Well Podcast: Google Authenticator

February 11, 2015

There are a number of tactics you can use to strengthen your password security when working and browsing online. Certainly it starts with a password manager. Two factor, or multi-factor, authentication adds an additional layer that insures your online accounts are not easily compromised. Two factor authentication is where you opt in to receive an additional code or pin via SMS on your mobile phone after logging in with your username and password to a web site or application.

Two Factor Authentication

It is possible that you could find yourself in a location where mobile and WiFi access are limited – and that is where Google Authenticator comes in. It is an app, from Google, that sits on your smart phone and can be used to generate the two factor code without a data connection.

I found it quite easy to get setup with the app on my iPhone and iPad. For those accounts that support using the app, you can have your phone in hand, with the app open; then also on your laptop or desktop computer, have the site open to your account settings for security. You can use the camera on your phone to snap a picture of the barcode that activates the two factor authentication in the app – and then enable two factor in your browser on your computer.

A nice how to guide is here on the Google Support web site.

Even though in duplicate – it is often convenient to have the Authenticator on both your phone and tablet, so as to keep on conveniently open in front of you for quick use.

Many popular sites and services support the use of Google Authenticator, including:

  • Buffer
  • Dropbox
  • Evernote
  • Facebook
  • Google (of course)
  • Hootsuite
  • LastPass
  • Microsoft
  • Salesforce
  • WordPress

Get Google Authenticator

For a full list if supported sites see this Wikipedia entry. You can also visit the Google Authenticator site, where they also outline how to use it with personal or Google Apps for Work accounts.


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