Introducing portability of Google Authenticator 2SV codes across Android devices
Posted by Dongjing He, Software Engineer; Teddy Katz, Software Engineer; Christiaan Brand, Product Manager
Today is World Password Day, and we found it fitting to release an update that’ll make it even easier for users to manage Google Authenticator 2-Step Verification (2SV) codes across multiple devices. We are introducing one of the most anticipated features – allowing users to transfer their 2SV secrets, the data used to generate 2SV codes across devices that have Google Authenticator installed. For instance, when upgrading from an old phone to a new phone. This feature has started rolling out and is available in the latest version (5.10) of Google Authenticator on Android.
Using 2SV, 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is critical to protecting your accounts from unauthorized access. With these mechanisms, users verify their identity through their password and an additional proof of identity, such as a security key or a passcode.
Google Authenticator makes it easy to use 2SV on accounts. In addition to supplying only a password when logging in, a user also enters a code generated by the Google Authenticator app on their phone. This is a safer alternative, used by millions of users, compared to passcodes via text message.
Users place their trust in Google Authenticator to keep their accounts safe. As a result, security is always a high priority. We made several explicit design decisions to minimize the attack surface while increasing the overall usability of the app.
- We ensured that no data is sent to Google’s servers during the transfer — communication is directly between your two devices. Your 2SV secrets can’t be accessed without having physical access to your phone and the ability to unlock it.
- We implemented a variety of alerting mechanisms and in-app logs to make sure users are aware when the transfer function has been used.
You can find more information about the Google Authenticator and its usage guide here.
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