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Google Authenticator vs Authy

Posted by Arch on July 18, 2019
Google authenticator vs authy

Internet security is becoming more important than ever before. There are countless ways for malicious parties to access your personal (and financial) information, and having strong passwords is no longer enough to protect you.

Even if you stay away from unsafe content, just using the internet could expose you to threats. The social media and email clients you use all contain your digital footprint, and they make you vulnerable. Maintaining privacy on the internet should be a priority for everyone, and 2-factor authentication is there to help you.

There are many services that offer the same thing, but Google Authenticator and Authy stand out as the best choices for 2FA. Which one is better? That is a difficult question, but you will get the answer if you keep reading.

Google Authenticator vs. Authy Features

Both of these software options use 2-factor authentication, which is an additional security step you should take to be cautious. Hackers can crack passwords like it’s nothing but 2FA can keep your data safe from them.

Take a look at some of the main characteristics of Authy and Authenticator before you decide which one works better for you. After you decide, you can download Authy on their website for macOS, Windows, iPhone or Android. Google Authenticator can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or the Apple App store.

Google Authenticator vs. Authy Features

1. Offline Capabilities

You will be pleased to know that both Authy and Google Authenticator work well offline. This means that no internet connection is necessary to get 2FA codes with both of these programs. Your security will stay intact no matter where you go and which software you choose. It is a tie between these apps, at least for now.

2. Link to SIM or Mobile

Authy is linked to your SIM card, which means that it asks for your phone number and it puts you at some risk of SIM card spoofing.

Google Authenticator is the clear winner in this section because it does not require your mobile phone number. It creates a link with your smartphone instead of your SIM card. This is a much better option because SIM cards are more vulnerable to intrusion.

When you sign up for Google Authenticator, use your main Google account. Even more importantly, using the Google account that is primary for your device will increase your security.

The score is now 2-1 in favor of Authenticator.

3. In-App Security

Having in-app security for 2FA software should be a no-brainer right? But for some reason, Google neglected to include this feature. There is no passcode authentication for Google Authenticator, and it’s unclear whether Google is planning to implement one in the future.

Authy has passcode authentication enabled. If you want to be extra cautious, you can even use your fingerprint instead of the passcode. But 4–digit codes are solid security measures even without that extra layer of protection.

The scoreboard between our two apps is now 2-2.

In-App Security

4. Backup

Authy is more practical in this regard, as it offers support for multiple devices. All the codes on Authy are backed up to the cloud. In case your phone gets stolen, or you replace it, you can easily get your codes back. When you install Authy on your new phone and confirm your identity, you will find your codes on the cloud.

Google Authenticator does not use cloud backup. You have to use the backup codes generated when you scan a QR code. However, remember that you can use Authenticator on more than one phone simultaneously.

For those keeping scores, it’s 3-2 in favor of Authy now.

Tough Choice

Both Authy and Google Authenticator are reliable, versatile, and have some great perks.

Google Authenticator is the simpler choice, for everything besides backup. Authy has more features and better backup support on the cloud. That makes the choice really hard, and it means that you won’t go wrong with either option.

Let your personal preferences decide. Which one would you go for? We would like to know, your comment on the matter is much appreciated.

One thought on “Google Authenticator vs Authy”

Robert Kimble says:
How do I set up Authy on my personal computer, since I do not have a SMS phone? Applications that require or recommend 2FA, do they each need to be handled separately?
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Fritz Theyer says:
Not sure if it can truly be done without a phone, but you can try using a google voice number to set things up. I have substituted my SIM-card-based number with a google voice number in Authy without a problem. That should deter SIM-card spoofing somewhat…
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