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SMS Verification Being Replaced By 2 Step Verification

Over the years, we've seen various problem reports mentioning attempted use of SMS for identity verification, for emergency Blogger account access.

It's possible that SMS based identity verification is one more service that has been replaced - by Google 2 Step Verification.

SMS is an obsolete service - but there are better replacements.

5 years ago, we saw "Go Blogger" being silently replaced by various Blogger services, such as "Mail-to-Blogger" and normal browser use on mobile phones. Recently, we've seen reports about problems with "SMS Verification", that suggest that its time is similarly limited.

SMS is a proprietary text messaging protocol, provided by various cellular phone carriers, over their individual networks - not using the "Internet". The various carriers maintain gateways, for connecting their SMS networks to other carriers networks - but not all networks connect directly, to all other networks. Some SMS networks won't connect to others - such as the networks that Blogger uses.

Complexity leads to unreliability. The more networks a Blogger recovery token has to traverse, to connect to a blog owner needing the token, the greater chance that one network will have a problem - and the token will be trashed. And no recovery for you.

Blogger has always had problems with "Go Blogger" - and has recently had similar problems, with SMS based account recovery - because of network complexity. If SMS based account recovery is unreliable, for reasons not controlled by Blogger, we can use 2 Step Verification - with a little effort.

Google 2 Step Verification provides identity verification, with various choices.
  • A registered phone - providing a one use, short lifetime authentication code by text, or by voice.
  • A physical USB key.
  • Backup, one use, long lifetime authentication codes, by text.
  • An authentication code generator, installed on your smartphone / tablet.

All of these, like "SMS Verification", require precautionary action by the blog owner before any identification problem is experienced - but that is a problem with any reliable and safe identification technique.

A "USB Key" - a small, single purpose USB flash drive.

You can get a USB key from any number of vendors, such as Amazon or possibly Yubico. Once you purchase a key, you register it with Google - then carry it with you, constantly. As noted, the Yubico product is "Crush-resistant, waterproof, no batteries or moving parts" - perfect for your key ring.

Nowadays, not every cellular service provides SMS - and those that do may not connect with Blogger, reliably. Many cellular Internet providers only provide Internet based text messaging. You will be better off, following their lead.

Some #Blogger blog owners, needing emergency access to their accounts, find that the old SMS based authentication token does not always work, reliably. SMS is slowly becoming obsolete, for several reasons.

For emergency account access, Google provides 2 Step Verification, which provides several options for providing a recovery token.


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