Multi-factor authentication with Google apps

I have just realized that my last post was about the Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on Amazon Web Services, what a coincidence or is it fashion? Anyway, I’m really happy to see that authentication is finally getting some good solutions, and this is an important step to achieve secure clouds.

So, back to the Google announcement. We have been using Google Apps for more than one year now and it is really an easy way to share everything, from documents to calendars. In this case, the second factor authentication uses your telephone. I’ve followed the clear instructions to setup the MFA, installing Google authenticator in my iPhone. Everything was done in 5 minutes and it works!

I’ve to say that I would like to know more about the algorithm that generates the one-time codes, but it really solves the problem of signing in on untrusted terminals, and you can even use it on your everyday computer if you don’t mind having your phone with you and tapping the code.

But there was a problem: I could not get my iPhone synced (contacts, emails, calendars) with the Google account using MFA. I could use the Google Apps but I’m used to use the iPhone default applications so I’ll have to wait for Apple to support the Google MFA…

Yet an integration problem or another example of the usability vs security issue? Any thoughts?

2 thoughts on “Multi-factor authentication with Google apps

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