T-Mobile users need not worry about latest move as it's a temporary change

T-Mobile customers say carrier's latest move is directly putting them in harm's way
Update:T-Mobile says that it has taken away the Google Authenticator optional temporarily and it will be back soon.

The original article continues below.


Just when you think T-Mobile is trying to make up for going back on its promise of not raising prices, the carrier does something to remind you that it can be very unpredictable sometimes. In the latest such episode, T-Mobile appears to have removed an important layer of security from some user accounts.

As many Reddit users have noticed, T-Mobile is no longer letting its customers use the Google Authenticator app for two-step verification. The app enhances security by generating a time-based one-time password (TOTP) that you will need to enter in addition to your password to access an account.

Users are understandably miffed, considering the only option most are left with is SMS authentication, which some cyber security experts say is less safe. That's because an unencrypted code sent over a text message by a service can be intercepted by cybercriminals.

Authenticator apps, on the other hand, create codes locally on a device and are much harder for a bad actor to steal.

These apps are also a better choice than text verification for preventing SIM swap attacks, which we already know is something T-Mobile customers are vulnerable to.

And even if you put the security risk aside, the Authenticator app is more convenient than SMS for many reasons. For instance, it will generate a verification code even when you don't have a cellular connection. This is crucial these days, given that we have seen T-Mobile's network go down four times this year alone.

The Authenticator app is also a better option for families with multiple accounts, as they won't have to rely on the person with the primary line to log into their accounts.

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Whether the option to use the Google Authenticator app was only removed temporarily is not known, but if it's gone for good, T-Mobilemight again have to convince customers to not go to the FCC to complain about it.

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