Today we talk a lot about cyber security, but few have clear ideas on how to protect themselves from threats on the net. For example, not everyone knows the importance of having a good password manager, that is, a program that has the task of securely storing login credentials for websites and applications. The same confusion reigns supreme when the argument falls on thetwo-factor authenticationanother key element to increasing your online security.
Two-factor authentication, also known by the acronym of 2FA (Two-factor authentication), is an authentication method that involves the use of two factors belonging to different categories, for example entering a PIN code (something you know) and a fingerprint (something you are ).
This leads to greater security of the entire system, precisely because it is protected by two levels of security instead of just one. For more details on the subject, please refer to our guide on how two-factor authentication works and what it is used for.
Often, this authentication system is associated with the sending of a text message containing a code to be entered later. In fact, the app to enable two-factor authentication today they are the best tool to protect you from unauthorized access. That’s why we decided to prepare this contribution, in which we briefly present the best applications available today to activate 2FA.
Microsoft Authenticator is an authentication application developed by Microsoft that offers an excellent level of security. Its benefits include secure fingerprint, Face ID or PIN login, cloud backup and synchronization, and the ability to keep codes hidden.
Among the disadvantages, however, the incompatibility of the backup systems for Android and iOS, as well as a weight in MB much higher than competing applications, especially Google Authenticator.
Download Microsoft Authenticator: android / iOS
It is perhaps the most popular two-factor authentication app. It owes its success to its extreme ease of use, which is the hallmark of Google, the company behind the development of the application.
In addition to ease of use, Google Authenticator provides the ability to import and export tokens by creating a single QR Code. On the list of cons are both the lack of cloud backup and sync and the inability to keep codes hidden from prying eyes.
Download Google Authenticator: android / iOS
authy is another popular app for enabling two-factor authentication. Along with Microsoft Authenticator and Google Authenticator, it is one of the most widely used apps in the world. Its best advantage is the full cross-platform support, as it works on the main operating systems used today.
Among the shortcomings however, the obligation to register a new account linked to the telephone number if one wants to use the app and the user interface which is not as intuitive as competing apps, due to the displaying only one token at a time.
Download Authy: android / iOS / the Windows / macOS / linux
FreeOTP started as an open-source two-factor authentication app after Google shut down the source code for the Authenticator app. Available on Android and iOS, it has a very minimalist interface.
Download FreeOTP: android / iOS
Cisco Duo Mobile
Cisco Duo Mobile it is available on Android devices as well as iPhone. Along with Google Authenticator, it is one of the two-factor authentication apps with the most years of experience behind it. Since 2018, Duo Mobile has been part of the leading company in the IT and networking sectors.
Easy to use, it requires no account registration and guarantees an exceptional level of code confidentiality. However, even in this case there are disadvantages. First of all, there is no access protection on Android or iOS. Secondly, it is not possible to synchronize data between the two versions, because the backup system used on Android is Google Driveon iOS, there’s iCloud instead.
Download Cisco Duo Mobile: android / iOS
Unlike other two-factor authentication apps listed above, and OTPs it is only available on Android. Although it is not an iconic application like Google Authenticator or its Microsoft counterpart, it is one of the best solutions available today.
Among the many notable features is the ability to save all tokens at once to Google Drive via an encrypted file. In addition, access to each application is protected by the fingerprint or password you use to unlock your Android smartphone or tablet.
Download and OTP: android
In iOS, the equivalent of andOTP is OTP authentication, available exclusively on iPhone and Mac (while the iOS version is free, the macOS version is paid and costs $5.99). Again, we are faced with the app to enable the most comprehensive two-factor authentication that an iOS user can use on the iPhone.
First, token storage is organized through an efficient folder system. As on andOTP, here too it is possible to export all the tokens at once via a file to be stored in the internal memory of the iPhone. If you want, you can also protect access to any application via Face ID or Touch ID, or you have the option of creating a password and dedicated only to the application for two-factor authentication.
Download OTP Authentication: iOS / macOS
A final notable alternative to the best apps to enable two-factor authentication is Second stepapplication available for free for iPhone and Mac. The minimalist interface, synchronization with iCloud and the absence of a request to register a new account are its main advantages.
However, there are several disadvantages, such as lack of protection when accessing, inability to export and import tokens. Another limitation of the second stage is that you cannot create more than ten tokens with the free version of the app.