The Google Authenticator app has received a critical update for Android and iOS that allows users to save their two-factor authentication one-time passwords (OTPs) to their Google Accounts and get support. multi-device charging.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds a second layer of security to your online accounts, making it harder for attackers to hack into them. Accounts set up with 2FA will require users to enter a one-time password before logging into an account, which is sent via SMS, emails, or generated by an authenticator app.
Google Authenticator is a hugely popular authenticator app with over 100 million installs that allows users to generate these one-time passwords for 2FA verification.
Using an authenticator app is a safer alternative to SMS and email-based 2FA, as these can be compromised by hackers or carried by SIM card swapping actors, which that makes it easy to bypass 2FA verification and hijack accounts.
Google Authenticator gets cloud backup
While Google Authenticator is hugely popular, one of the biggest criticisms has been the inability to save unique 2FA codes and the lack of cross-device support.
Without this feature, if you lost your mobile devices that had Google Authenticator installed, you would also lose all your 2FA configurations, making it very time-consuming and difficult to regain access to your accounts. Also, without cloud backup, you cannot add your 2FA codes to multiple devices.
“One of the biggest comments we’ve heard from users over the years was the complexity of managing lost or stolen devices with Google Authenticator installed.” explains google in the ad.
“Because one-time codes in Authenticator were only stored on one device, the loss of that device meant that users lost their ability to log in to any service where they had 2FA configured at the time. Authenticator help.”
With yesterday’s Google Authenticator update, users will be prompted to sign in to their Google Account when they open the new version of the app and sync their 2FA codes to their Google Account.
Google has set a 2-step verification requirement must be activated on the Google account for cloud backups to work, as this reduces the likelihood of unauthorized access.
The new Authenticator app update is currently available on Apple’s iOS store, but appears to be gradually rolling out to Android users. So, be patient if you don’t see Google Authenticator version 6.0 available for Android yet, which includes the new features.
For more details on OTP backups, account synchronization and migration, see Step-by-step instructions from Google.