Using 2FA or two-factor authentication is the best and most efficient way to protect your online accounts. This article will cover the top 2FA apps, Authy, and Authenticator. You can also look at hardware options such as Yubikey or VeriMark.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an important aspect of protecting your online accounts. Even with the most effective online security practices, you could still be a victim of data breaches. You don’t have to worry about 2FA. This guide will list the top five 2FA apps. We will also provide general information on 2FA and its importance.
What is Two-Factor Authentication and How Does It Work?
Two-factor authentication, or two-step verification, is an additional layer of security for your online accounts. Instead of using a single factor, such as a password, to verify your identity, you use two factors. Usually, your password and a unique code are sent via SMS, email, or email.
It’s less likely that an attacker can unlock your account if you spread the risk over two factors. An attacker can’t unlock an account if it has a compromised password due to a data breach. They will also require your second factor.
OneLogin can use multi-factor authentication tools to verify everything, including the IP address of the login attempt and the time of day. However, most online services only use three factors:
- You know is usually your password
- You own: Your mobile device, 2FA app, or 2FA hardware key
- You are something: Your fingerprint, face scan, and so on.
Many websites, including Amazon, PayPal, and Reddit, support 2FA. You combine two factors, such as your password and a 2FA application.
There are differences among factors. You may also have different ways that one-time codes are generated. If you want more information, we have a deep dive into two-factor authentication.
This guide will focus on 2FA apps such as Microsoft Authenticator or Authy. These apps are available for iOS and Android. 2FA apps usually provide single-use codes, push notifications, or both. Hardware keys are also briefly discussed. These keys use either a fingerprint scanner or a hardware token to verify your login.
Also read: Top Antivirus Software for 2022
What are the best 2FA apps?
2FA apps require you to use OTP (one-time password) as your second factor. The majority of apps work in the same way. To tie your account to your app, scan the QR code. Your app will generate a code every time you log into your account. This code is what you need to unlock your account. The code is typically a six-digit, time-based, one-time password (TOTP).
Top 5 Two-Factor (2FA) Authentication Apps for 2023
Authy combines all elements that we need in a 2FA application under one roof. It is completely free and automatically syncs across all your devices. It is also extremely easy to use with widget support for Android and support for the Apple Watch. Authy is the perfect 2FA app.
Website support is easy. Authy tokens can be used with any service that supports TOTP-based authenticator applications. Authy has a list of supported services, with detailed instructions on how to enable 2FA for those services. Authy supports cryptocurrency wallets in addition to password managers such as Keeper and cloud storage such as Box.
It is also very secure. Authy offers free encrypted backups. This allows you to save your account data in the cloud, and then sync it across all your devices. This allows you to restore your account even if you have a new device. Authy also offers a data recovery system if you choose not to back up your data.
Authy works even without an internet connection. It generates codes on your device and flushes them automatically every 30 seconds. Authy also does everything for free. It doesn’t serve ads, but it charges businesses a fee to generate tokens. Authy is our choice for the best 2FA app overall. It does almost everything right.
- Apple Watch support
- Includes encrypted backups
- Supports crypto wallets
- Not open-source
2. Google Authenticator
Google Authenticator was the original app. It still works to this day. You don’t need an internet connection to generate tokens. It’s simple to link accounts using a QR code, and almost all websites that support TOTP-based apps explicitly support Google Authenticator. It is the base.
However, it’s not the baseline. Google Authenticator lacks many features when compared to Authy. It does not tie to your Google Account, which is great for security, but bad for account recovery. Also, it does not support sync across multiple devices or backups. You can transfer data between devices by scanning the QR code.
Google Authenticator is a reliable and trusted tool. It is reliable, easy to use, and supports almost everything. It does not have the same features as other 2FA apps. If you are looking for a simple and straightforward 2FA app, we recommend Google Authenticator. There are many other options if you need more functionality.
- It works with all major services
- It is very easy to use
- Manufactured without certain features
andOTP is an open-source, free app that generates TOTPs and HOTPs. It doesn’t require an internet connection and supports all TOTP-supporting services, just like the other options. While andOTP isn’t much different than other options, it’s open source, which is usually a good sign.
AndOTP, especially over Google Authenticator, supports encrypted backups. The app will back up your data and encrypt it using the password that you have chosen. You can restore your account you can decrypt your data using, a tool available from the andOTP community, or OpenPGP.
andOTP also offers a variety of security features, including tap-to-reveal and panic buttons. The panic button allows you to wipe your entire device with one tap. Although andOTP is a great 2FA app, it does not support Android. It supports both rooted and all versions of Android.
- HoTP Support
- No iOS support
Also read: Top 10 Anti-Phishing Tools and Software
4. LastPass Author
LastPass Authenticator is unique because it comes directly from LastPass, the most free password manager. LastPass Authenticator supports TOTPs and pushes notification-based authentication for Amazon, Evernote Google, DropBox, and Facebook — a first among 2FA applications.
It also supports backups via LastPass servers. LastPass’ security system has been reviewed by us — see our LastPass review – so we are confident that these backups will be safe. The app also allows you to adjust the timing of the codes. You can either extend or reduce the time that the code is valid.
LastPass is the best password manager if you don’t want to spend money. LastPass Authenticator can be used in conjunction with password managers. LastPass Authenticator is not as feature-rich as Authy and Microsoft Authenticator but it offers all you need to increase the security of your online accounts.
- Backup support with encryption
- Push notification verification
- Missing some app features
5. Microsoft Authenticator
Microsoft Authenticator is a simple and elegant app. It can automatically generate codes on your device using any service that supports TOTPs. However, there’s more to it.
The app supports passwordless authentication of Microsoft apps, such as OneDrive or Office 365. The app allows you to approve your login by using your phone’s fingerprint scanner or face scan. Microsoft Authenticator also supports cloud backup via iCloud or Microsoft’s servers on Android.
Businesses also have some advantages, including certificate-based authentication. A certificate can be used by businesses to authenticate login attempts, rather than a password. Your app can be locked to hide your 2FA codes, and other services until you authenticate using biometrics.
Overall, Microsoft Authenticator has the strongest competitor to Google Authenticator. It offers more features, but it is just as simple to use. Authy and LastPass Authenticator are great apps to use if you don’t use Microsoft apps.
- Microsoft apps support passwordless authentication
- Certificate-based authentication supported
- Not open-source
Conclusion — Best 2FA apps
It’s better to use any of these options — hardware or software — rather than not using 2FA at ALL. Authy is our favorite out of all the options. It is the best choice for most people because it combines all the best features of other 2FA apps.
If you are already using these services, LastPass Authenticator or Google Authenticator can be used as an alternative. If you are looking for an open-source 2FA application, OTP is an excellent choice.