Q&A TOTP secret in the same device - Thoughts on this?

Spawn

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As far as I'm aware, both Bitwarden and 1Password allow TOTP (time-based one-time passwords) to be stored in the same place as your passwords. LastPass offers a standalone LastPass Authenticator app for both Free / Premium users - it sync's to your LP account for backup purposes - as does Microsoft Authenticator with your MS account.

Quoted from this article written in 2015.​

One time passwords are often part of second factor security systems, but using one time passwords doesn’t automatically give you second factor security. Indeed, when you store your TOTP secret in the same place that you keep your password for a site, you do not have second factor security.

They (1Password) continue on to say this:
If you would like to turn a site’s offering of TOTP into true two-factor security, you should not store your TOTP secret in 1Password (or in anything that will synchronize across systems). Furthermore, you should not use the regular password for the site on the same device that holds your TOTP secret.

Put simply: the device that holds your TOTP secret should never hold your password if your aim is genuine two factor security.

Personally, I don’t think that following that practice would be worthwhile for anything but a very small number of special circumstances, in which case, you should probably be using a specialized second factor device instead of something like a phone. But not everyone shares my opinion on this, and if you have a need for true second-factor security for some particular site or service, you should take that into account before adding a TOTP secret to 1Password.

True Two Factor - "the device that holds your TOTP secret should never hold your password if your aim is genuine two factor security."

LastPass Free users can technically achieve this with the upcoming changes, if they make their Computer their default, and use their Mobile for TOTP authentication.

What do you think? Is it realistic for real-world users? Or do you want convenience over security?
 

Telos

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Having TOTP on a server I don't control is a definite problem. But on the same device... nearly unavoidable.

Sure you can log in by PC and have TOTP on your phone... but what about when you log in on your phone?
 

rain2reign

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NFC capable FIDO(2) key might be the answer then. Think of NFC variants of the Yubikey and Nitrokey. As long as they have an usb-c connector you can also ditch the NFC capability too, i think.
 
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ForgottenSeer 85179

Having TOTP on a server I don't control is a definite problem. But on the same device... nearly unavoidable.

Sure you can log in by PC and have TOTP on your phone... but what about when you log in on your phone?
Solution for that is called user behaviour and management ;)
Also, even if you login to e.g. Reddit on deskop and phone with only saving 2FA on your phone, which doesn't matter until you don't do that for all sites/ services you use.

NFC capable FIDO(2) key might be the answer then. Think of NFC variants of the Yubikey and Nitrokey. As long as they have an usb-c connector you can also ditch the NFC capability too, i think.
FIDO2 isn't restricted to NFC. FIDO2 is specification for using credentials on that hardware key instead of using standard username+password. This can also be combined with 2FA
Else you're right :)
 

Divine_Barakah

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Even if you do not store the TOTP in your password manager and use a separate authenticator, you will most likely store backup codes in you password managers and those are no different than TOTP for they are used in case you lost access to your authenticator.
 
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ForgottenSeer 85179

Even if you do not store the TOTP in your password manager and use a separate authenticator, you will most likely store backup codes in you password managers and those are no different than TOTP for they are used in case you lost access to your authenticator.
My solution works for that too.
Don't store any 2FA on PC nor in password manager (and no, not even backup codes).

I print the secret codes with backup codes and put that paper in safe at my local bank.
 

Divine_Barakah

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My solution works for that too.
Don't store any 2FA on PC nor in password manager (and no, not even backup codes).

I print the secret codes with backup codes and put that paper in safe at my local bank.
I see! But how am I supposed to access my accounts (those protected by 2FA) when I am out and I can not access the printed codes?
For this reason I store backup codes in Sticky Password which is synced locally and never reaches the cloud.
 

Telos

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Authy can run on Windows. There is a dedicated Windows or IOS app also extension for browser.
Just a plus info.
But when I'm out with my phone, I'm not going to bring a laptop along with me. So both my password app and authenticator app are phone-based. Since the optic here is "same device", phones are problematic. I don't see much way around this other than carrying a hardware key, that may or may not be compatible with all 2FA sites.

BTW... Authy has horrid privacy policies. That one will not be used by me.
 

Thales

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Nov 26, 2017
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But when I'm out with my phone, I'm not going to bring a laptop along with me. So both my password app and authenticator app are phone-based. Since the optic here is "same device", phones are problematic. I don't see much way around this other than carrying a hardware key, that may or may not be compatible with all 2FA sites.

BTW... Authy has horrid privacy policies. That one will not be used by me.
The privacy policy is just a thing I don't believe in. Don't get me wrong I don't defend Authy I use it only because it is available on Windows. You are right they collect data I don't deny it but other companies do the same even if they say the opposite in privacy policy. We saw examples in the past.
Maybe the Windows availability is not so iportant and worth to use andOTP or FreeOTP on mobiles.
 

rain2reign

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Jun 21, 2020
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I read that some users in this thread use iOS, since andOTP nor Aegis (which I use) isn't available on iOS. You're kind of stuck with password managers capable of TOTP, authy, MS authenticator and all sorts of the same, no?
 
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