Tom Merritt shares the best alternatives to Google’s two-factor authentication app.
Google Authenticator was one of the first apps you could install on a phone for two-factor authentication to keep accounts secure. It works on more than just Google accounts, but it also suffers from being run by Google, which often is slow to update features.
Top 5 alternatives to Google Authenticator
This app from Cisco offers a feature called Duo Push. If a site works with it, the app can prompt you to tap to authenticate a login instead of having to enter a code. And to stop people from accessing your account without approval, you can deny requests and even mark the denied attempt as fraud.
Microsoft Authenticator is essentially the same as Google Authenticator, but run by Microsoft with a slightly more pleasing layout. It also lets you log into Microsoft accounts, like OneDrive and Outlook, with just a tap.
This one works well even if you don’t use LastPass to manage your passwords. It offers push notification verification with several big names like Amazon, Dropbox, Facebook and more, and it supports SMS and QR codes.
It has a decent layout, and its big advantage is that it can store your codes in the cloud, encrypted by password or biometrics. That way if you lose your phone, you won’t lose your second factor. Authy makes it easy to install on multiple devices, and it can generate codes for you to use offline.
If you do end up using Authy, check out Mary Manzi’s article How to back up your Authy app.
This one doesn’t generate codes; it’s an actual physical key. In the olden days, you used to need a USB port on the device you were logging in on, but these days it supports NFC and Bluetooth as well.
Whichever method you use, even if you stick with Google Authenticator, it’s good to have those multi-factors in a good place — at least until that passwordless future finally arrives.
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