Generate random codes for 2-factor authentication on Linux with Authenticator


If you’re looking for an application to have 2-factor authentication on Linux, Authenticator is for that. With it you will be able to generate codes at random for several accounts that provide this feature, such as Google, Twitch, Amazon, Blizzard among others.

The project is maintained by the Belgian developer, Bilal Elmoussaoui, who maintains other projects such as Nautilus Folder Icons, the Audio Cutter, among other projects that you can check out at GitHub his.

But after all, what is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication (or 2FA in English) is highly recommended to protect your online accounts. Google has made the engine very popular in its accounts in recent years, having a similar application, Google Authenticator, compatible with Android.

Imagine that you have a house or apartment and want to protect it in addition to the traditional key (password) you use. And to give your home more protection, you install a biometric lock, making it necessary to use your key in addition to using your fingerprint to confirm that it is you (2-factor authentication). This will most likely increase the security of your home (online account) while you are not around to keep an eye out.

Two-factor authentication can be done in several ways, but the interesting thing about apps like this, that 2FA with sets of random numbers and that are constantly renewing themselves, is that even if somebody, at some point, finds these numbers, a few seconds later they they no longer exist.

But then you ask me, is it necessary to have such an authenticator for desktop ??

Technically not, but this is more like a convenience than a «need». It can be useful if you don’t want to depend on your Smartphone.

How to install Authenticator?

The application was created for the environment GNOME, Budgie and KILL but how is it distributed via flatpak, probably works in other graphical environments. The prints you will see were taken using Cinnamon with Mint.

It has a very simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy to add services and that in some cases can display a QR CODE for the creation of this double factor of authentication.

Authenticator supports more than 290 websites and applications, including: Amazon,Apple,Dropbox, Facebook,OneDrive,Google,YouTube,Twitch, among others.

Once the bracket is installed, you have two installation possibilities. The first is to go to your distro’s app store that already has native flatpak support and look for “Authenticator”And have it installed, wait for the installation to finish and run the program.

If you prefer to install via terminal or if the distro does not support flatpak in your store, you can install with this command:

flatpak install flathub com.github.bilelmoussaoui.Authenticator 

Then just wait for the installation and look in your distro’s menu for «Authenticator».

The first screen you will be presented with is the one below.

To add a service you will click on the “+” sign in the upper left corner

Finally, you will choose which service you want to have authentication in 2 factors, put your “user” and the “security token” that they offer for this type of application.

After that, just enjoy the application. = D

Security applications can be very useful and without a doubt are very important, if you want extra protection, also use the password manager, such as KeePassX or Lastpass.

I wait for you until the next post, big hug.