Using Google Authenticator (Guest Post)


This guest post is mainly for Cru staff.

Have you heard of Google Authenticator? Until this morning, I hadn’t either. It’s an app that generates a two-step verification code every time you log into your password-protected accounts, providing you with an extra layer of protection.

Some people choose to use an app like Google Authenticator because of the security it adds. Others, like me, who would shortsightedly opt for convenience over security, are forced to use it because the administrators of the sites we belong to now require it.

For us at Cru, this includes any accounts we sign into using Relay or The Key including PeopleSoft, the Staff Web, GCX password-protected sites, and Cru email.

We used to be able to log in to these sites with our email address and password. But then the cyberworld became a more dangerous place. We moved to a two-step authentication process by adding a code texted to our phone. This, we thought, would keep the hackers at bay.

But now, our fearless leaders have added yet another layer of protection. We at Cru will soon be required to use the code generated by Google Authenticator. We will no longer receive codes via text message. (See NOTES.)

So, go to the app store on your phone. Search for Google Authenticator. Download it. If you’re like me, and you’ve used almost all of your memory, no need to worry. The app takes a surprisingly small amount of memory. I surprised myself by installing it without having to delete any other apps on my phone.

From there, check your Cru email. It’s possible you received an email from Paul Alexander. If so, open it, read it and follow this link to find the directions to set up your account. It’s pretty simple. I did it in under 10 minutes. Maybe it will take you five minutes.

If you didn’t get the email, log in to one of your password-protected Cru accounts and follow the prompts. When it asks for a code, type the code you see on your phone’s Google Authenticator screen.

You’ll still need a code if you log in to any of those accounts from a device your account doesn’t recognize. For example, if you get a new phone or laptop.

It was surprisingly easy for me to set up my account. If you have any problems, you can email the wonderful people at helpATcru.org. They’ll be happy to help you.

Hope this helps as you engage in work that’s helping to fulfill the Great Commission. Be safe out there. The world is a dangerous place.

What steps are you taking to secure your password-protected accounts?

NOTES from Sus:

  • For Cru staff: this two-step authentication starts Tuesday, August 7 at 10 a.m. EDT. Please familiarize yourself with Google Authenticator and get your authentication set up before this. You’ll need codes from the app to get in to the Staff Web.
  • Having gone through the steps, I can see how easy it would be to get confused. This should help:
    • Make sure your phone’s settings are checked to sync with an automatic date and time from your network.
    • Have Google Authenticator open on your phone.
    • Open the step-by-step directions for authentication in your browser.
    • Log in to the Staff Web in another tab. Refer to the instructions to set up two-step authentication.
  • Generally, email verification codes expire in 30 minutes and text codes in 10 minutes. As added security, Google Authenticator codes expire in 30 seconds. If the little pie icon on the right has gone from a full pie to a slice, wait a few seconds for the next code.
  • Photo source: Pixaby.com

Guest Post by Anne Marie Winz

Anne Marie has been on staff with Cru for 35 years. She has written for Worldwide Challenge and Globalstaffwomen.com. She manages The Women’s Resource Newsletter, and she leads the web team at Women’s Resources. She’s married to Mark Winz, they have two adult children and they live in Orlando.

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