The recent rollout of Google Play services v10.2 came with a cool new Instant Tethering feature that automatically enables a small set of devices to sip on a shared cellular signal when they're in need. Aside from a couple of minor tweaks, that appears to be the only major functional change we're supposed to access at this time. However, that doesn't mean there aren't a few other things waiting to be revealed. Fresh additions to the APK reveal new data types coming to the Google Fit API. There's also support baked in for the new FIDO Alliance U2F tokens for secure authentication. Read More
We've known WhatsApp would be enabling 2-factor authentication for many months now, but the functionality has only just gone live in some of the latest beta versions of the app (2.16.341 and above, maybe even earlier).
If you head over to your account settings in WhatsApp, you'll see a new Two-step verification option. Tap it to get to a screen that explains what 2-step verification is and get the option to enable it. Read More
Setting up and using 2-factor authentication on a Google account used to be a fairly miserable affair. The sign-in process lurched from a native interface into a browser where users were expected to quickly enter codes, various apps weren't compatible and required special 1-time use passwords, and the app for generating codes felt completely unfinished. These days, all of those problems have been solved, and now Google's Authenticator app is even taking steps to further improve its look and usefulness. The latest update brings a great looking refresh to the UI, adds a dark mode, and finally adds its own built-in scanner functionality. Read More
The internet is a dangerous place with all sorts of shady people out to get your personal data. One of the best ways to keep your accounts secure is with 2-step verification (AKA 2-factor auth). Google has long supported that feature, but typing in those codes every time you log in can be annoying. Starting today, you can approve account logins from a prompt on your authorized mobile device. Read More
There are a few ways to enable 2-factor authentication. One common approach is to send a text message to your phone containing an authentication token. Another option is to have an app installed that will generate that string of numbers without making you wait.
There are a few apps out there that will do the job. Google Authenticator is one. Another is Authy, which was acquired by Twilio a year ago. The latest version of the latter adds support for six, seven, and eight digit authentication tokens. Not only that, it makes those digits significantly easier to read. Read More
Many of Google's apps are in extremely active development, some are even on weekly update schedules, but there are others that seem practically abandoned until they get that one random update every 6 months or so. With an average of about once per year (so far), Authenticator is easily one of the best examples of the latter group. Given the infrequency of new versions, it's a little disheartening to see that there are no discernable new features in the latest release; but it's actually worse than that, one was even taken away. But don't let this get you down, it looks like this little app may be due for some new tricks soon as it may be entering wireless territory. Read More
Protecting your online accounts is important, and 2-factor authentication is the best way to do that. The default method of getting 2-factor codes for most services is SMS, but authenticator apps can be more convenient. Google's own authenticator has been on the Play Store for years, but it's been very ugly until today. This app has finally gotten a material design makeover and a few new features too.
Twitch has been the largest live streaming video platform for quite some time, and now they decided to push out an update that helps users protect their accounts. Two-Factor Authentication is now available on all Twitch accounts.
Enabling this feature adds one more layer of security by requiring something that you have in your possession, with the first layer being something you know (e.g. your password). This thing you have is a code, which can be generated through a Two-Factor Authentication application, or sent to you via a text message. This generated code changes after a brief interval, usually 30 seconds. Due to the nature of Two-Factor Authentication, attackers are unable to access your account without being able to generate one of these secure codes. Twitch has teamed up with Authy to generate a secure code for you. I've been using Authy for a few years now, and I highly recommend it as a way to manage your Two-Factor codes. Read More
Mobile payments app Venmo has been around for years now, but without two-factor authentication, security hasn't been as good as it could be. Fortunately the company is now getting around to changing that. Today it announced that it has added two-factor authentication to its mobile apps (Android and iOS) as well as the web.
When you attempt to sign into Venmo from a new phone, the service will send you a 6-digit code that you will need in order to get inside.
Going forward, Venmo will automatically enable this feature for anyone who uses the latest version of the app. Read More