Using Google Authenticator? Here’s why you should get rid of it
I’ve been a Goggle Authenticator user since the dawn of two-factor authentication (2FA) apps. Released in 2010, it’s one of those apps that I use all the time for authenticating logins into various websites and services. Using it has become second nature.
But it has downsides.
First, it runs on only a few platforms, specifically Android, iOS, and Blackberry.
Another is that you’re limited to having it on a single device. Not a huge drawback for those who live with a smartphone in their hand, but if you “device surf” a lot, this can be a drawback because you have to have your smartphone nearby.
Another drawback, and this is a big one, is that if you swap phones, you have to blitz the entire app and go back and sync up all the accounts again. This is where things get really tedious, and where it begins to feel easier to just turn off 2FA and take a chance.
So, I’ve been on the lookout for a new service, and there are a number out there. Password managers 1Password and LastPass both have built-in authenticator apps, but the one I went for is Authy. It’s quick and easy to use and set up, runs on multiple devices and platforms, allows you to make backups, and the website is a wealth of information on how to secure accounts using 2FA.
While I did have to go through the process of setting up 2FA on all my accounts — I even added it to a few more while I was at it — hopefully it’s the last time I have to do this. While I have had to change my workflow a little, the upsides of having switched away from Google Authenticator far outweigh the downsides.
So, if you are still using Google Authenticator, have a look around at the alternatives on offer, and if you don’t feel like having to re-setup all your 2FAs right now, keep it in mind for the next time you replace your smartphone.