Two factor authentication without a cell phone


I've thankfully developed a tendency to make side remarks about things in videos that I'm not sure or don't know about because often times people will fill me in on them.

Yesterday I complained about having to use a cell phone to do Two Factor Authentication (2FA) and asked for another way. As it ends up, using a cell phone for 2FA is apparently just a bad, normie-friendly way to do it. And we aren't normie friendly, anyway are we?

Many informed me that SMS protocol (i.e. texting) is actually a highly insecure way to do Two Factor Authentication. I did also know that there are authenticator apps, but these are often talked about as if they are always cell phone applications. Very not true.

In fact, pass, the password manager that I use (and I also require it for mutt-wizard) has an installable module pass-otp in most repositories that does just this without the need for a celular monitoring device and service, etc.

Install it, and let's say I want it to manage my coinbase 2FA. Well, go to Coinbase's website and click the option to add/change an authenticator app. They'll give you a QR which you can download (I'll assume it's called 'download.png' here). Then, use zbar (which you may need to install) to read the QR code image and pipe it into this pass command.

zbarimg -q --raw download.png | pass otp insert coinbase

Now, whenever you run pass otp coinbase, you will get a 6-digit 2FA code. After a few seconds, of course, it will change to another 6-digit code like other 2FA applications.

So this is pretty dope. You could also start using this for scripting/API access if you know what you're doing. One more thing I don't have to use my cell phone for. I feel like a boomer for not knowing this before...

Now the other thing I'd really want is the ability to access SMS protocol on a computer to receive text messages without (a) a cell phone and (b) cell phone service at my location. The big issue for me is that I have no mobile service in my house (I have to walk out to the north side of my property to get texts). I don't have wifi-calling either. Some people have submitted some suggestions and I'm still going through them, but we'll see. I just wish normies could send me a message at a number they think is a normal cell phone, but I can receive on my computer without a cell signal.