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Authy vs. Google Authenticator – Which is a better 2FA tool?

Authy vs Google Authenticator

In the age when security on the Internet has become so necessary, there are different ways using which one can make sure their data is protected and the account is fully secure. You surely don’t want to see the data getting leaked and sent to the wrong hands, right? One of the ways you can ensure that the account you use is well secured is by enabling the 2-factor authentication on the account.

2-factor authentication, also mentioned as 2FA, is a step ahead in the security and having a strong password is not really enough. Now, since the rise of Cryptocurrency, we have seen each of such coin marketplaces showing an importance of 2FA and asking the users to enable that. As usual, the users are confused on what to use for the same, and even though Google Authenticator is what some of the exchanges and websites directly mention, we do know of some alternatives that claim to do a better job.

Authy is one of such security apps that enables the 2FA, and it works extremely well on every site that accepts Google Authenticator. The name Authenticator has become more of a “Maggi” for any noodle and thus, people are unaware of any alternatives. Authy fills the gap between good security and ease of use. But, how different are the two apps and which one should you use? Let’s talk about it.

Platform Availability – Where can both be used?

The first difference between the two 2FA apps is that Authy has support for multiple platforms and multiple operating systems. Google Authenticator is available only for mobile devices, but Authy is available even for desktop through an app, or even as a browser extension if you don’t want your PC to have the load of handling one extra app.

Authy Devices

To take it further, Authy extends its support to iPhone, Android, desktop, and even Apple Watch.

Syncing and adding a new device

I’ll tell you this. Before hearing about Authy, even I thought it is only Google Authenticator that works for the 2FA setup, and since I change my smartphone almost every 15 days, it was a cumbersome task to de-authorize the current device, and authorize a new device for the Authenticator to be setup and working on that one. It wouldn’t have been an issue if I was using it for one or two apps, but I have 2-factor authentication for over 6 websites right now, and it is hectic.

Authy didn’t want me to do all this as I just had to authorize the new phone and then it would automatically sync all the details. Once I am done with that, it was just one step of de-authorizing the previous device to remove it from the list of devices supported.

Securing the apps

While Google Authenticator can be locked only with the phone’s App lock system just like how any other apps including Authy can be done, the latter has a Master Password option just in case you wanted to extra-secure the app and not let anyone open the app on your device.

Backup of the codes and accounts?

Authy secure backups

I know this is going to be another point where Authy is better and you might feel like Authenticator is pretty useless except for the fact that it has the same 30-second codes available to login to your accounts. But that’s the case here. It has nothing else. Not even backups when you lose your phone. The only way you can unlock and get back into the system is by going through a process of entering the private key you were given for the first time, that too on each of the websites where you had set the 2-factor authentication.

Authy lets you take encrypted backups to the cloud. If at all you lose your device, you can just restore the tokens from the cloud where you were backing them up, and these are not the actual tokens but encrypted data that is decrypted only when you download the backup. For some who think that backups sometimes are risky, this feature is optional but it still is very handy.

Final Conclusion

The fact that I can use Authy on multiple devices across different platforms, and have a backup to restore whenever I want, is what makes me use Authy and not go back to Google Authenticator anymore.

Many people did wonder whether Authy would work with websites that specifically mention Authenticator while helping you set up the 2-factor authentication for your account. It actually works and it is only the website’s fault that it mentions one app, but that had to be done to at least give the users a trusted source name – Google. In the end, at some point, people will learn about Authy and switch to it, but if you are new to this, you shouldn’t even waste your time trying out two apps.

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