If you had ever used two factor authentication a.k.a 2-step verification, you would have already heard of Google authenticator app.
But if you are don’t know about two-step verification, let me explain you about it in simple words:
What is 2-Step verification or two factor authentication?
2-step verification is an option that adds an extra layer of security to your account. To be simple, when you login you have to enter your Username, Password. But if you enabled two-step verification, whenever you login from a new device you have to additionally enter a One-time password along with username and password. If you haven’t already setup 2-step verification, you can refer this guide on how to setup 2-step verification and authenticator app (Because it’s really very important)
You can get this one-time password either through an SMS or through authenticator app (Which we will be talking about).
In this post, we will be discussing 5 Reasons why you should use Google authenticator app right from this moment over other available options like SMS and printable Backup codes.
1. It’s More Secure
Google authenticator is surprisingly most secure one of all the other options available to receive verification code for 2-step verification. I’ll call it the safest option for 2 reasons:
- Reason #1: It works inside a secure box. Receiving verification codes through SMS is not as secure as using the authenticator. As many of the apps on your device may have permission to access your SMS and bad apps can see your codes. And the same with backup codes that you print on paper are prone to be seen by someone.
Unlike SMS option and backup codes, Google authenticator app works independently and inside a box so no other apps can see your codes and no person can see them as long as your device is secure.
- Reason #2: New code every 60 seconds. The code you receive through SMS generally is valid for about 30 minutes and the backup codes you generate work for several days. So these codes may be stolen and it would be serious threat for your account.
But Google authenticator uses the TOTP (Time-based One-Time Password) algorithm and gives a new code every 60 seconds, so each code expires in just 60 seconds which make it a secure option to generate codes for 2-step verification.
2. It Works without Internet and Network coverage
The most interesting thing about Google Authenticator is it doesn’t require any sort of internet and cellular connectivity
When I first enabled 2-step verification to secure my google account
, I was worried about how would I able to get the code when I am out of network coverage area and internet connectivity for my mobile, but Google authenticator app solved both the issues. With this app on your mobile, you don’t need any internet or even a SIM card on your mobile.
The science behind it is, Authenticator app mechanism is built using a special algorithm called Time-based One-Time Password algorithm
. With TOTP, the same code will be generated both on your mobile and on Google side without the need of internet
. So the code matches and you get into your account.
3. Multiple Accounts in One Place
Google and most other websites allow you to have multiple accounts, but you cannot register same mobile number with multiple accounts.
Let us imagine a scenario when you have 2 or more google accounts, one for your personal stuff, one for work and so on. And you enabled Two factor authentication on all as all of them are important to you. But to receive codes you have to give different mobile numbers for each.
But if you have Google authenticator on your on your smartphone, you can have codes for all your accounts at one place. You just have to setup each account with this app, just by scanning QR code and you are done.
4. It is EASY to use
Two factor authentication, keeps your account safe but also make your login a little complex, especially waiting for the SMS with a verification code. Even though you will receive codes pretty quick, but sometimes it may be delayed due to some technical and network errors.
But in Google authenticator, the codes are ready to be used and most importantly it works even in Airplane mode.
Apart from this the app is easy to use with simple interface. The app also works on older versions of android (Android 2.2 and above) and is less than 2 MB in size, so it instantly fires up and works smoothly even on the devices with less amount of RAM and storage.
5. And You can use it with Non-Google Websites
Google authenticator, as the name suggests is not limited to your google account. It also works with most of other popular sites like WordPress, Evernote, Facebook, Outlook, Dropbox etc.,
with 2-step verification option. (Guide herehere
The setup with these sites is also quite similar to that you did with your google account i.e, you just have to give the secret key of your account (scan QR code). And you are done, you have not just google accounts but also other non-google accounts, all at one place.
Google Authenticator app is available on Android and IOS. If you are using Windows phone, you can use Microsoft authenticator.
As we discussed above Google authenticator is the safe, easy and most useful option to use. And the support to non-google websites is added benefit for it.
So what more reasons can you tell us to use Google authenticator and the two step authentication? post your answers in the comment section below and share it with your friends.