Edward Thomson

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I'm a Program Manager for version control in Microsoft Visual Studio Team Services and the co-maintainer of the libgit2 project, the Git repository management library that underpins tools like GitHub, Visual Studio and Xcode. I also develop version control tools and I also write and speak about Git and version control.

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Blog: Changing Titles in Google Authenticator

August 23, 2017  •  5:27 PM

Surely you know that the best practice for securing your accounts is to enable two-factor authentication. And hopefully you're using an application as your second factor, instead of text messages. Text messages may not work when you travel to foreign countries, but you're also reliant upon your wireless carrier to keep your data secure.

Instead, use TOTP (Time-based One-Time Pad) to get a six digit number from a local application. There are many applications that support TOTP, but I keep it old school, and use the Google Authenticator application.

The problem with the Google Authenticator app, though, is that it doesn't let you edit the title of a website (the "issuer") once you've set it up. So you end up with a number that's missing a title, and there's no good way to identify it.

Thankfully, TOTP is a published standard, so you can actually create - and then scan - your own QR code based on the secret number that you're given when you turn on two-factor authentication.