Do you really have a 2FA backup? It is worth checking!

google authenticatorLast week I did something for fun… I grabbed an old phone I do not use for anything, and I installed Google Authenticator. And just for fun, I found the keys needed to install my 2FA keycodes from the big cryptocurrency exchanges on this phone. 

I have Google Authenticator running on my cell-phone, but I have often feared what would happen if my phone would break down, get stolen, or something that made it impossible to use. What would happen to my exchange accounts which all require me to log in using 2FA and codes provided by my Google Authenticator application?

Whenever I create a new 2FA account with Google Authenticator, I get a keycode, or a QR code (or both), which can be used to re-create this information on some other device later. It is very important to store this information. If you lose your phone, and you do not have it, you might risk losing all values stored in that exchange account (or wherever the 2FA information is required).

My little 2FA code test

So, I installed Google Authenticator on my old phone and found all my QR codes… It went smoothly, and after a few minutes I had my backup phone with all my Authenticator codes up and running… except for…. what? I couldn’t find my Bitfinex 2FA QR-code. So, I had to look around here and there, but I simply couldn’t find it. This would have been a disaster if I had actually lost my original device. Luckily, this was only a test.

As a consequence, I logged onto my Bitfinex account, and disabled 2FA, and then enabled it again. This time, I made sure to print my 2FA credentials, meaning that if I get into trouble once more, I will have all the information ready, also for Bitfinex.

Are you ready for 2FA trouble?

I did this test just for fun and to see if I was well prepared for trouble… I didn’t pass the test. What about you? It is much better to spend a few minutes now to check that you are prepared for trouble, than to get into trouble, only to find out that you lack some codes.

So, go ahead and make sure that you are well prepared for trouble! You will regret a lot later if you get into trouble, especially if you read this article first!

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