Google Doesn’t Want “Nigerians in Nigeria” to use 2 Factor Authentication

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I remember how excited i was when i started setting up my 2-factor authentication only for the excitement to turn into an angry face. Why? because google considered my mobile number invalid as well as the numbers of over 100 million Nigerians who wanted to step up their google security with 2 factor authentication.

The following article written by Eyitemi Egbejule, a Cyber Security consultant from Co-creation Hub Lagos highlights the setup process and the invalid number issue.

“I am an Information security consultant who preaches best information security practices like, secure password policies, data protection and vulnerability management.

One of the things I strongly advocate under password policies, is the use of 2 Factor Authentication (2FA), or as Google refers to it, 2 Step Verification.

Basically, 2FA is an security feature that allows you as a user, double authenticate your login to any platform, by using a unique code received via a message sent to your email or your phone number, to verify your login process.

Several service providers like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and a host of others, strongly recommend that you secure your account using 2FA. You can check lists of websites that support 2FA at https://twofactorauth.org/.

I’ve had 2FA activated on my Google account for some time. Sometime in early 2016, I had terrible phone issues. This prompted me to disable 2FA on my account for a while. Fast forward to 2016 when I tried enabling it back, I couldn’t. Instead I got an error message saying “my number is invalid”. I thought the issue was with just my account or phone number, until I met other people who have had this same issue repeatedly.

Google prevents Nigerians from activating 2FA on their accounts, showing up “invalid number, try again” as error. This is after over 10 tries with several accounts and phone numbers.

 

invalid number, try again
   

So, invariably, one comes to the conclusion that Google does not want Nigerians to use 2FA on their accounts with a Nigerian number.

According to a user on Gmail Help Forum,

 

Comment from productforums.google.com

Mind you, my Zimbabwean friend can activate 2FA on her account, and so can people in Ghana.

Several theories could be spawned off this, like a possibility of Government monitoring, or Google having unrestricted access to your accounts, an embargo as a result of cyber-crime related activities or what-not even the seemingly absurd theory that Google is just being racist. Some people however argue that this is not about discrimination, but has to do with issues around our Nigerian telecoms providers not willing to cooperate with Google. Whatever the case may be, the fact still remains, Google doesn’t seem to care about Nigerians using 2FA on their accounts.

So it’s left for Google to come clear the air on what the issue really is, and why Nigerians are restricted from using 2FA on their Google accounts.”

Don’t forget to leave your thoughts and comments below regarding this post or any other security issue you would like us to write about.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I thought this was a peculiar problem with my phone line, I’ve tried to activate Google’s 2FA several times and I keep getting the “invalid number message”.

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