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What is 2FA
Two-Factor Authentication (or 2FA as it often referred to) is an extra layer of security that is used to provide users an additional level of protection when securing access to an account.
Employing a 2FA mechanism is a vast improvement in security over the Singe-Factor Authentication method of simply employing a username and password. Using this method, accounts that have 2FA enabled, require the user to enter a one-time passcode that is generated by an external application. The 2FA passcode (usually a six-digit number) is required to be input into the passcode field before access is granted. The 2FA input is usually required directly after the username and password are entered by the client.
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Such a cool-sounding term, I had to find out its meaning and purpose. So here is the story.
Let’s take the story step-wise. You should have heard by now of 2-FA, two-factor authentication. The base idea is pretty simple. Apart from just the password, many of the websites might be sending you an OTP on the phone to grant access. That summarises the two factors. Your password is factor one, and possession of your phone number is factor 2. But just for curious people, I will share some knowledge.
In information security, we have three main pillars to verify someone’s identity.
Withdrawing money from ATM checks _possession _of ATM card and knowledge of the PIN. Encashing a cheque checks possession of the cheque book and inherence to the user’s signature. Attendance in my college lectures needs inherence to fingerprint and possession of the ID card. Writing proxy attendance in attendance sheet requires knowledge of friend’s roll number and _inherence _of the fake signature of your friend. You get the idea where it’s going.
Two-Factor authentication, as most of the examples above, is about combining the methods from 2 separate domains. It is different from Two-Step authentication, which can be just a password and a pin, both from the _knowledge _domain.
Many secure websites recommend, even enforce you, to use such two factors. More than often, the possession part is your phone number.
But waiting for OTP can be troublesome, especially in a place with poor networking. Many people may be stuck in places that do have good WiFi, internet connectivity but horrible cellular coverage. Like any place in the new CSE building of my college or even Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in rush hours.
Why so many worries, right? If we just wanted to prove the possession of something, can’t we show the possession of our phone? Something that we always have. And more than often is the device we are using to log in to the website. This is the idea behind Google Authenticator.
How does it work?
At the time of first account creation, if you choose the authenticator app option in the available list, they will provide you with a QR code, which is the main secret that will remain shared between your phone and the website. You should print this QR code and keep it hidden in your cupboard or somewhere you can be safe about. Why? We will come to that later.
This secret that is shared through QR is more than often 16+ length of a random string. So are you supposed to type in every time? That will not only make it tough but also make the string knowledge than possession.
Instead, what the app does for you is taking this secret key and the current time as inputs, it generates a new OTP for you which is a 6–8 digit number that you can type in. This OTP is regenerated in 30 seconds and older OTP expires.
A Cyber hacker has to guess the OTP in a small time window. Anything later than that and the OTP will expire. This will not only prevent the entry but also warn the user through email about his password being compromised.
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An Gmail authentication error occurs when an account’s owner is unable to verify themselves; Gmail perceives it to be a threat to the account and its privacy, so it shows an authentication error. This can occur due to multiple reasons; entering the wrong password, using the wrong server port, and disabled IMAP on Gmail. You will find solutions to fix Gmail authentication problems in this Video. Additionally, you will find ways for Gmail 2-step verification bypass.
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Step 1: Install Google’s PAM Package
First off, install the Google PAM package. PAM, an abbreviation for Pluggable Authentication Module, is a mechanism that provides an extra layer of authentication on the Linux platform.
Step 2: Install Google Authenticator App on Your Smartphone
Additionally, you need to install the Google Authenticator application on your tablet or smartphone. The app will present you with a 6 digit OTP code that auto-renews every 30 seconds.
Step 3: Configure Google PAM in Ubuntu
With the Google Authenticator app in place, we will proceed and configure the Google PAM package on Ubuntu by modifying the /etc/pam.d/common-auth file as shown.
Step 4: Integrate SSH with Google Authenticator
If you intend to use SSH with the Google PAM module, you need to integrate the two. There are two ways you can achieve this.
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Open Google on your browser and login to your account. Locate the navigation panel and select Security from there. To enable Gmail two-factor authentication, click on the Signing in to Google option. When it opens, click on the two factor authentication option and click on get started. Google will setup the two factor authentication for your account which helps keep the account protected and secured.
For more details Read: Gmail not Working
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