Security, Backups, and Update Woes Part 2

Security, Backups, and Update Woes Part 2

First of all, the Nexus 5 is really dead. I think it made it to ~19h and then it was stuck in the boot loop again. I got it to boot up from time to time but I mostly lost confidence, even when it was working for a few hours.

So on Thursday I pulled the trigger and ordered a Motorola moto 4X for 190 EUR, and it arrived yesterday. Feels good, looks good, a few grams heavier but otherwise nearly the same size as the Nexus 5X. The only odd thing was the patching. It shipped with Android 8.0 and I had to click “contine, reboot, search for updates” like 10 or more times until I arrived at 9.0 now.

But that wasn’t the actual thing I wanted to write about, but this is what triggered it. I’ve been less annoyed by the loss of my favorite phone or the need to buy a new one (had it long enough and the new one was cheap) but it will shock you what happened next…

So I tried to buy something online with a credit card and to do that (and for other reasons of course) I have two at 2 different German banks.

Using number one popped up this 3D secure thing where I need a special app by my bank, of course this part hadn’t been backupped and restored - so now I needed to order a new letter via snail mail, if there’s even another way of recovery they’re doing a terrible job of telling it to the user.

So at bank number two I couldn’t even login to the online banking without a special TAN app (again this is not for banking per se, just authentication).

At least they offer an SMS-based workflow to pair a new device with your account, the problem is that it doesn’t work. In this case you should log in to online banking, be in a kind of locked down state, but can trigger an SMS with a special link. I got the link but tapping on it I just got “TAN app not installed” so I called the hotline. First this also didn’t really work, but after a few tries I could copy the entire SMS and paste it in the app and it parsed out the magic part of the URL and now my new phone is paired. Yay.

So half of this drama is over I guess. Still it would be so easy if they supported my Yubikeys…

On to the Google Authenticator 2FA stuff. First of all, I’ve never had a problem with Google Authenticator itself. I use it for basically all websites that support it. Not that many, in my case, this is the sad thing.

twofactorauth.org has a big list but I don’t use many.

Github

I think Github takes the #1 spot without any real contenders. Also it has the potential for massive damage if someone would commit something nasty.

  • authenticator app
  • multiple Yubikeys
  • one-time codes
  • no forced SMS auth, but as a fallback comm. channel

Google/Gmail

Seems close to Github, but I don’t really care about this account. It has my calendar and I bought apps for < 20 EUR in 10 years. It’s not my primary email and not used as a recovery email address afaik.

  • authenticator app
  • multiple Yubikeys
  • one-time codes
  • haven’t tried to remove SMS auth

Namecheap

Bought a domain here, so far everything went perfect.

  • multiple Yubikeys
  • OR authenticator app - that’s a little weird
  • one-time codes

DigitalOcean

Spun up some droplets in the past, currently not actively using it.

  • authenticator app
  • one-time codes

Scaleway

Got 1 VM here right now.

  • authenticator app
  • one-time codes

Amazon

Don’t have to explain this one I guess.

  • multiple authenticator apps, but can’t remove old ones, wtf

Blizzard Games, formerly World of Warcraft only

Pretty good for a game.

  • keyfob OTP generator
  • own authenticator app

Star Wars - The Old Republic

  • keyfob OTP generator
  • own authenticator app

EVE Online

Didn’t try this myself.

  • authenticator app

Final Fantasy XIV

Didn’t try this myself.

  • keyfob OTP generator
  • authenticator app

What does that mean?

So yes, you read that correctly. Of all the hundred or so of online accounts I have only 4 have 2FA enabled, but of course I didn’t check all of them, but I don’t think I’ll find a lot who do support it. Compare this to like every major MMO I’ve played in the last 10 years, they all support it - and as I don’t have a gaming laptop it would be even easier to have this somehow temporarily bound to a certain computer, in a sense of alerting of logins from different machines, whereas you can bet I will login to several websites from a laptop or phone from a different subnet multiple times per day.

Also still very disappointed by both of my banks, if I didn’t make myself clear already how much I love my Yubikey.

Stuff I’m using that should support 2FA, but I don’t use it:

  • Discord, app
  • Slack, app

Also, famously no support:

  • Strato, a hoster I use
  • Booking.com - ok, not sure the hardware key would be useful for me

TLDR

  • authenticator app without one-time codes is annoying or stupid
  • many workflows of “I have a new phone” converge to “just click on ‘I lost my phone’ - why can’t I act proactively?
  • I know restoring the authenticator from an Android backup might be insecure, but not being to use my CC sucks. A lot.
  • I want more Yubikey support, dammit