When it comes to securing your data online usernames and passwords aren’t enough anymore. These days hackers are too crafty and can easily bypass simple login systems to gain access to your personal information.
Fortunately, many companies and services are beginning to utilize two-factor authentication (2FA). This means that users need something other than their password to log in on new devices.
Most often this is a text message with a one-time code sent to a user’s phone. While this is better than nothing, SMS messages are also fairly easy to hack for a determined operator. Besides, many users might not feel comfortable giving certain services (like Facebook) their phone number.
That’s where authenticator apps come in. These handy bits of software allow you to verify your identity with your specific device. In other words, hackers can only get in if they have physical access to your phone. With that being said, you need a secure authenticator app that is compatible with a wide range of services.
These three choices not only come from very reputable companies but are also available for both Android and iOS smartphones.
Those who already utilize a Google account for Gmail and searching might automatically gravitate towards Google Authenticator. After all, it is a natural integration. Fortunately, it also works for non-Google users.
Adding accounts to secure is very simple and can be done by scanning a QR code. Although Google Authenticator doesn’t have a lot of fancy features, it gets the job done. Better yet, you’ll be able to get started with it in a matter of minutes—literally.
Those who love dark mode will be pleased to find that they can secure their accounts without the harsh glare of a white screen. Google Authenticator features a built-in dark mode. It is also free for all users on both Android and iOS.
If Google isn’t your cup of tea, that’s okay. Microsoft has released its own Authenticator app that is very similar. It also takes a simple approach to security but is a little more visually pleasing than Google’s offering. For one, it has visual icons for each of your accounts that makes finding the right one easier.
Unlike its competitor, Microsoft Authenticator has some extra features. The most important among them is a cloud backup. This lets you sign in on a new device if, for some reason, you lose access to your original one. It also allows you to secure the app itself with the same biometric data you use to lock your phone. Microsoft Authenticator is free to use.
For those who know what they’re doing, Authy is a great choice. It offers an extensive library of features and supports practically any app you’d want to connect. This includes all major Bitcoin and cryptocurrency digital wallets. Authy also expands on Microsoft’s cloud capabilities by allowing users to access their 2FA codes from multiple devices.
For those who frequently lose their Internet connection, such as while traveling, Authy is even able to generate secure codes offline. Like the others, it is free to use for Android and iOS.