Most Mobile Authenticator Apps will allow you to backup the Authenticator registration to an account.
Alternatively, if you have a spare phone (with or without a SIM chip), you may wish to deploy your Authenticator Apps to a 2nd phone, IPad, or Android Tablet to grant yourself additional freedom from being forced to using a single device for authentication.
Important Note: If the website allows it, you can register your QR code multiple times to different Authenticator Apps on the SAME or DIFFERENT phone. If you already registered to a site, you may re-register the QR code on both devices to ensure they both have the same “seed” for your login ID.
You may use your Ipad/Android Tablet without needing your primary phone near you while authenticating to your secure applications/websites.
Below is an example of using the following Authenticator Apps that registered the same QR code, e.g. Last Pass Authenticator (Red Shield Icon), Google Authenticator (Grey G), Microsoft Authenticator (Blue Lock Icon), and Okta Verify Authenticator (Blue “O” CheckMark Icon).
We did a test to confirm that these Authenticator Apps are all time based with your unique registration QR Code. As you can see from the below screenshot, any time-based authenticator app will return the same code within that 60 seconds cycle before they rotate.
Please note that other authenticators do not base the return value ONLY on time but other variables. Example: SecureID Token (Cloud Icon), Symantec VIP Access (Yellow Circle with Checkmark Icon), Okta Mobile (Blue Icon), and IRS2Go – Authenticator & App (IRS Logo Icon).
As we see more accounts get compromised, we strongly recommend using one or more of any authenticator applications with your mobile phone. Please note, all of these authenticator applications are free to use by the vendors.
Every website you access with an account usually has a “two-factor” authentication security setting that you may enable. You can enroll your mobile phone with the provided QR (quick response) code.
Examples of QR Codes that you may scan with your cell phone camera. Modern cell phone will auto transcribe these pictures into text for a web site URL, text, or registration code. The below three QR codes are all text base messages that you may practice your cell phone on. The more characters, the smaller the blocks will be in the QR code.
Hopefully, this entry may have value to you for account recovery, or managing access for/with a partner, spouse, dependents, and parents accounts.
Additional benefit, if the primary phone is lost or damaged, you will still have access to your accounts without being forced to go through recovery methods on each account, e.g. disable Authentication App, prove your identity, access your account, re-apply Authenticator App.
Only negative to this process is that you must remember to register 2nd device at the same time as the primary phone, for any new websites or wish to update your account on an existing website/application.
Example for Facebook TFA (Two-Factor-Authentication) Configuration:
Select Security and Login / Two-Factor Authentication under Facebook Settings. You will need to re-authenticate with your password to ensure that you are the correct person to change these settings.
Next, select the “Authenticator App” Manage button to add in an Authenticator App. Have both your primary phone and your 2nd device available within one of the Authenticator App open. Scan the QA code with both devices. Do NOT click the Continue Button, until you have scanned with both devices. This QA code is the “seed” for your authentication app. If you have any issues, you can re-scan a new code to retry.
After you click continue, most application/websites will ask you to input the code from your phone/device into the website, to prove that it was recorded correctly. If you look at both devices, you should see the same code being repeated on both every 60 seconds when they rotate.
If you are a fan of LastPass, the online password management tool, you can enable the three (3) popular Authenticator apps as well. The Google Authenticator App selection may also be used with Okta Verify Authenticator App.