Nextcloud integration: use sms77 for 2FA

Nextcloud is a cloud service that has set itself an ambitious goal: To be better than Dropbox, Google Drive, Office 365 and everyone else. Like the competition, Nextcloud is used for data exchange and storage in the office context. Security is therefore very important. Login data should be secured with additional steps.

Why two-factor authentication makes sense not only for Nextcloud

While a good password offers some level of security, today, this is no longer sufficient. It is, on principle, possible to create almost unbreakable passwords. However, you should use a unique password for each account your have. Sometimes it’s hard to remember them all. Apart from that, even the best password cannot offer a fool-proof guarantee against unwanted access. Partly, this is due to careless handling – whether on the part of the user or by the service. But in part, this is also due to the increasingly sophisticated methods used by hackers to gain access to accounts.

This is where multi-factor authentication comes in. By adding one or more steps on top of the username+password combination, the likelihood of unauthorized access can be reduced significantly. The methods for this are numerous. From movies we know voice recognition and iris scanning. These take place in real-world applications as well. We know fingerprints for identification purposes from smartphones and laptops. And the TAN used for online banking has today turned into widely used one-time passwords. These are often time-limited and can be linked to a specific physical device as well. In that way, the level of security is increased even further.

Nextcloud 2FA – now including sms77

SMS are suitable for delivering such one-time passwords because they offer very short transmission times. Other options are more secure, to be sure. However, SMS offers a compromise, including speed and availability: almost anyone can be reached via SMS. For Nextcloud, there is a two-factor gateway available as a plugin, among other options. Alternatively, you can find the plugin in the Nextcloud app store as well. In the plugin, you can choose between different providers and services – such as Telegram, or sms77.

How to configure the two-factor plugin for Nextcloud

After you have downloaded and installed the plugin, you will of course need an sms77 account to access your API key and top up your balance. Afterwards, follow the instructions for the plugin to configure sms77 as your provider. To do this you need to specify the API key. You can find this in your sms77 Account in Settings -> HTTP API. To be able to send SMS, you should also top up your account balance under Finances. In order to avoid the risk that a code cannot be sent due to insufficient balance, we recommend that you set up an automatic recharge. You can find this under Finances as well.

Pros and Cons of SMS for 2FA

As a rule, SMS are suitable for two-factor authentication. However, there are also some concerns that we should not leave unmentioned.

Pro

  • Fast

    Network availability assumed, SMS are delivered worldwide within seconds.

  • Available anywhere

    Most people worldwide can receive SMS – regardless of the availability of mobile Internet.

  • No Apps needed

    In contrast to many other 2FA methods, SMS does not require any additional apps and works on older devices as well.

Contra

  • Insecure

    SMS are not encrypted and can be hijacked comparatively easily.

  • Cost

    Our service is reasonably priced, but not free of charge. There are other methods that are not only safer, but also cheaper.

  • Dead spots

    If the recipient has poor reception or no reception at all, time-limited codes may arrive late or not at all.

While the use of SMS for two-factor authentication is basically possible, it should be checked on a case-by-case basis whether this makes sense. In particular, the issue of security must not be ignored here. SMS should only be used if there are good reasons against other, safer methods.

Conclusion

Nextcloud is a widely used cloud service. The company combines the simple and intuitive operation of consumer-friendly services with the functionality and performance of business solutions. In order to better protect your data from tampering and unauthorized access, two-factor authentication is a sensible and important step. By using the two-factor-gateway, you can now use the reliable and inexpensive service of sms77 for this as well.

Best regards
Your sms77 team
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