The pitfalls of 2 factor authentication

TL;DR: Don’t leave home without backup codes.

My cellphone is dead. It is stuck in a crashing boot loop. Factory reseting the phone hasn’t helped. It might be salvageable by flashing the ROM, but that’s not easy to accomplish while traveling (I did attempt it at an Internet cafe- epic fail).

So much for getting a local SIM card. The worst part is I’ve been locked out of many of my online accounts (Google, Dropbox, wordpress, and a few others) because they rely on Google Authenticator or the ability to receive a text message. Silly me, I didn’t print out any backup codes before I went travelling. Lesson learned.

So I can’t check my email on any machine. I can’t write blog posts either, but luckily Emily has authorship rights to this blog.

I’m now in the market for a new smartphone, but that might have to wait until we get into a bigger city. We’re traveling through small towns for the next 10 days.

In the meantime, I have 2 options for getting into my google account. Send my password to a someone in Canada that can access a trusted device (my work laptop). Or if that doesn’t work, start the process of unlocking my account with Google, which takes a week for security reasons.

I think 2-factor authentication is great under normal circumstances, but next time I go traveling I’ll likely disable it.

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