Google Authenticator, in depth: how it works and what Google’s two-factor authentication app is for

google authenticator in depth how it works and what googles.webp.webp.webp
google authenticator in depth how it works and what googles.webp.webp.webp

On our mobile devices we synchronize many accounts, from social networks through the same Google account that allows us to use their services. Each of these has its own password (unless we use the same one, which is not recommended), but depending on the level of security, we can continue at risk. For this reason, there are a series of applications that make our lives easier in this regard, we are talking about two-step authentication apps.

One of them is Google Authenticator, a useful solution for save the passwords of our accounts safely, even more so now that it already has cloud synchronization. We tell you everything that this free service offers, how it works, what it is for, some precautions to improve security and more.

What is Google Authenticator

Google Authenticator 2

Google Authenticator is an application available on Android and iOS mobiles that allows us to add an additional level of security to our accounts. It is part of the group of apps that enable two-step verificationa way to strengthen the security of a given account.

Google for its part, has made it mandatory for the accounts of its services for a couple of years. And relatively recently we talked about it, related to Twitter, which previously allowed this verification via SMS, but now it is not available (unless we are Blue users).

It is a fairly simple application, it will show us a six digit numeric code, which changes every 30 seconds. This code will be used as a second factor (in addition to our password) to access other services, which helps maintain access control.

How does it work

Well, the operation of Google Authenticator is similar to other applications of this type: once we activate the verification in two steps in a certain account, it will give us the aforementioned numerical code or a QR. These will be entered in order to generate access codes.

The code works together with an algorithm that does not change, but what does change (and provides more security) is the seed. That is, if our password changes every 30 seconds, these will be unique at all times. Authenticator would take the time the key was requested, compare it to the initial key, and do some math to provide us with the valid access code.

It should be noted that this app works without internet connection, since the initial key served has already generated the algorithm that is responsible for returning access to us. It sounds like magic, but it’s actually easier than it seems.

some precautions

Since Google has added cloud synchronization, if we lose our device we can go back to regain access to these secret keys. Before, we had to reconfigure everything, wasting time and access to our personal accounts.

However, this it also has its downside: Now, if an invader accesses our Google account, they would have the access codes to enter other services. A risk that Google has already talked about, commenting that it will solve it with end-to-end encryption.

Google Authenticator Settings

Google Authenticator

Setting up this app is something very easy and that it will only take us a few minutes. Once we finish the process, we will have more security preventing third parties from accessing it. The first thing we must do is download the app from the Play Store.

Obviously, Google Authenticator works to verify Google’s own accounts, but it is also valid for set up accounts for other servicessuch as Facebook or Twitter. Precisely the latter is the one chosen to demonstrate the initial configuration.

First of all, we must move to the configuration of our Twitter account, and look for the verification in two steps. By pressing, the available methods will be shown, being SMS exclusive for Blue. We touch on “Authentication application”, and it will begin to guide us through a few simple steps.

Twitter 2fa

Then, we will give “Link app”, which is nothing more than quick access to the Google app. Authenticator will open, and it will ask us if we want to save key for Twitter. We touch “OK”, now you will see the code that is changing, copy and paste it in Twitter (before a new one is generated).

Twitter 2fa Get Code

I would be correctly configuredNow, when we enter the blue bird’s social network again, it will ask us for our password and also the code that we will find in Google Authenticator.

Google Authenticator

Google Authenticator generates two-step verification codes on your phone.

Free download

Well, this is all that Google Authenticator allows us to do. Hereinafter, It is advisable move all your accounts to two-factor verification. This way we will avoid major scares, and only you will be able to access your accounts. Google has made it easy for us, and we appreciate it.

Cover image | Pepu Ricca with Bing Image Creator

In Xataka Android | Your Xiaomi mobile with MIUI 14 hides a ‘Swiss army knife’ from maintenance