How to add and use an authenticator app

A basic rule for keeping your accounts secure is to use a different password for all of them. This is so if someone gains access to one of your passwords, they won’t have the master key to all of your private information.

However, remembering all of your passwords is nearly impossible, especially keeping in mind that strong passwords contain a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Keeping a list of your passwords on your device is dangerous because most note-taking apps are not encrypted. Secure password managers like Dashlane can help keep track of all of your passwords, or, you can install an authenticator app on your device.

How to add and use an authenticator app

There are several different authenticator apps to choose from. Google and Microsoft have the most popular ones, however, LastPass and Authy are also effective solutions.

An authenticator app enables two-factor authentication (2FA) for supported accounts and ensures that you can only gain access to your accounts if you possess a known and trusted device.

An authenticator app provides two layers of protection for your accounts. First, you need to access the trusted device, and then you need to enter a code generated by and temporarily saved to the authenticator app.

How do I install an authenticator app?

The process of installing an authenticator app depends on which software you decide to use.

To use Google Authenticator, you need a Google account. You can set up 2FA under the security tab in your account settings.

You can download the Microsoft authenticator app through the App Store or Google Play on your Android or Apple iOS device.

Once the application is downloaded to your device, it will walk you through how to get started. You will set up a password, scan QR codes and provide the information necessary for 2FA.

How do I use an authenticator app?

You can use an authenticator app in several different ways. 2FA is compatible with a number of different sign-in techniques.

Code generation

To log into your accounts with code generation, you will first enter your password, and then the authenticator app will provide you a randomized code that is usable for a short period of time. The code is generated in the app so no one else can get their hands on it.

Notification approval

Similar to code generation, the authenticator app can also send a notification directly to your device to be approved. Access to your accounts will not be granted until the notification is acknowledged.

Phone sign-in

Once you enter your password, the authenticator app can require that you verify your identity using your smartphone. Most devices have either facial or fingerprint recognition, or you could be required to enter your device PIN.

Why should I use an authenticator app?

An authenticator app makes it easier to keep your accounts secure without having to memorize several different passwords.

Not only that, but enabling 2FA on your devices makes it much more difficult for people to hack into your accounts, even if they gain access to your passwords.

Authenticator apps are more secure than other types of 2FA because they leverage your access to a trusted device. Sending a code to your email or through a text message is not as secure because hackers can intercept the code, whereas you are the only person who has access to your device.

Your accounts with sensitive information should be protected at all costs. Even your social media accounts should be secured, since hackers could use them to pretend to be you or gather personal information.

Total Defense is here for all of your cybersecurity needs. Contact us today for more information.