Google authenticator app on a phone.

In mid-2019, Singapore-based Bitrue was hacked. About $5 million of XRP and ADA was stolen. The hack was successful because the hacker gained access to users’ login credentials. What can be done to secure your account in the unlikely event that hackers get your login info?

Using Google Authenticator for two-factor authentication would be an option.

Google Authenticator is a helpful way of adding a level of security to your crypto exchange accounts. Google has a strong reputation for offering secure interactions with its suite of products, and the authenticator has become a staple of the security measures the internet giant offers customers.

Why You Should Set Up Google Authenticator to Secure Your Crypto Exchange Accounts

If you’re wondering how to use Google Authenticator, you may have some idea as to its value. Examining what it does to the process of a potential hacker may reveal even more benefits.

Many digital asset exchanges only have one level of security, the username and password. If a hacker has somehow gotten ahold of your login credentials for a crypto exchange account (via a phishing email for example), all they have to do is go to the exchange’s website, enter your details, and steal your coins.

Now, let’s see how Google Authenticator makes it so much harder for a hacker – even one with full access to usernames and passwords – to successfully access your account.

When you try to login, Google Authenticator essentially says, “That’s nice you know your username and password. Now, please prove that it’s really you.” This is done using one of your personal devices. The Google Authenticator app is installed on one or more of them, and a code is sent to the device via the app. Let’s say you have the app installed on your phone. When a hacker, armed with your crypto account login info, tries to get into your account, they are prompted to enter a code that is sent to your phone. They would have to have your phone, as well as the passcode to open it, in order to access your account.

Even if someone were to jack your SIM card and gain access to all of its data, you’re still protected with Google Authenticator because this two-factor authentication method doesn’t allow codes to be stored on your SIM card.

Google authenticator icon.

How to Set Up Google Authenticator

  1. Download Google Authenticator on one or more devices. Using more than one device means you have a backup in case one of them is lost or stolen. You can find the app here for iPhone and here for Android devices. If you haven’t already, secure your device with a password.
  2. Create a Gmail account with another device. You need a gmail account to use Google Authenticator. If you already have one, you can use it.
  3. Log into your Google account and enable two-step authentication. You can go to https://www.google.com/landing/2step/. This will give you a QR code. You will use this to add devices. It would be a good idea to take a screenshot of the QR code and store it securely because then you can use it to add more devices later. You will also get backup codes that can be used to recover your account if the need arises. These should be stored as well.
  4. Scan the QR code with your devices that you will use with Google Authenticator. This produces an authentication code on each device. It’s a combination of six numbers, and it changes every 15 seconds. This is called your “token,” and you will use it to login to your crypto exchange account from now on. When figuring out how to use Google Authenticator, this is the most crucial step: the generation of the token. Entering these six numbers confirms that it’s really you.
  5. Enable two-factor authentication for every crypto exchange account for which you want to use it. The steps will be more or less the same for each account. You enable two-factor authentication, scan the QR code with your devices, put in the token and then log in to make sure everything’s working.

If you are an active trader with a substantial digital asset holding in your trading account(s), it is strongly advisable to use Google Authenticator as an additional security layer for your online accounts.

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