Two-factor Authentication (2FA) also known as Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) provides an additional layer of security for accessing your Standard/Business applications. Along with the basic usernames and password, you are also prompted to input a specific code sent to your 2FA device. This kind of authentication falls under the category of something more commonly known as a username and password as well as a 2FA device. Google Authenticator is one such software that allows you to enable 2FA in your credential environment.
The Google Authenticator 2FA supports Time-based One Time Password(TOTP) and HMAC-based One Time Password(HOTP) for authenticating users. In TOTP, the One Time Password is generated from the shared secret and the current time. The enrollment process is very simple. The server will generate a shared secret key and the key will be shared with the user via a secure medium in form of either QR codes or plain text. The user must download and install the Google Authenticator App from the Play store (Android) or the App Store (iOS). After the App has been installed, the user simply scans the QR code or adds the shared secret manually and the App will automatically start generating TOTP codes for authentication. Now, when the user wants to log in, the user is required to provide the code generated on their phones to complete a successful logon.
Security on internet is a myth. While Google Authenticator may not provide 100% security, it surely does provide additional security compared to basic authentication systems.
Author: Chirag Chudasama, TetherView Systems Engineer