Recent data breaches have demonstrated that relying solely on passwords may be insufficient. Hence, the need for online security. A single password is frequently insufficient to protect sensitive data, such as what’s in your bank account or social media accounts.
This is particularly relevant when we reuse passwords – we’ve all done it, but it’s not a smart idea in general. According to research by the University of Maryland, a hacking attack occurs worldwide every 39 seconds!
Although sending passwords to your phone is a good idea, new keys and software can make the process much easier and safer.
What is An Authenticator App?
An authenticator app is a program that is typically installed on a smartphone or mobile device. In a particular time frame, usually 30 seconds, the app generates a six- to eight-digit security key. An algorithm is frequently used to produce these codes.
The active code can be used to access your email or other internet services. To prevent hackers from stealing data, many businesses require time-based authenticator software for remote access.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) are other terms for authenticator apps. This means that accessing an account requires two distinct security measures. 2FA offers a second layer of security, further protecting you from online attacks.
For example, when attempting to log in, you may be required to enter a password and the verification code made by the authenticator app. The code will be texted to your cell phone number by the app. You will have a limited time to enter the code for access, or you will be unable to get into the account.
Since the code changes so frequently, a hacker would have difficulty guessing it. Two-step verification protects you against identity theft and hackers gaining access to your online accounts.
8 Top Authenticator App For iOS and Andriod
Listed below are the 8 top authenticator apps for iOS and Android.
- Google Authenticator.
- Twilo Authy.
- Microsoft Authenticator.
- Cisco Duo Mobile.
- OTP Auth.
You’ve probably heard of Google Authenticator, which is extremely popular. It is a convenient alternative for individuals who prefer not to deal with token synchronization via the cloud.
The software may generate a single QR code that can import all of the tokens it has generated onto a new device, eliminating the need for several exports.
Unlike the Android version, the iOS version just added the ability to search for tokens and protect app access with Touch ID or Face ID.
Google Authenticator still can’t hide created codes, which can be annoying if you use it in public. (This is because all authenticators for Android prohibit screenshots, all screenshots in this post are from the iOS versions of the apps.)
● Operating Systems: Andriod, iOs
● Type: Free.
The key advantage of Twilio Authy is its extensive cross-platform compatibility. Authy is a versatile software that is compatible with all main operating systems and allows for seamless synchronization between them. It also expands its compatibility with iOS watches.
Despite its ease, the app has one limitation: it requires an account linked to your phone number to function properly.
The interface of the app is very different from that of other authenticators. Instead of a list, it has a set of tabs; at any given time, it displays only the selected token, with the remaining options presented as toggleable thumbnails in the screen’s footer.
This can be inconvenient if you have a large number of tokens. Tokens can be displayed as a list in the desktop version but not in the mobile version.
● Operating Systems: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux
● Type: Free and Paid
Considering the developer’s credibility, many users prefer Microsoft Authenticator over Google Authenticator. They have some justification: The Microsoft app adds a few useful functions to the standard set of features.
For instance, it can encrypt codes on the display, store tokens in the cloud, and secure application logins for both iOS and Android versions.
If you frequently work with Microsoft accounts, Microsoft Authenticator comes in useful because you don’t need to enter a code; simply hit the button in the app to confirm the login.
This program, however, has certain drawbacks. The Android and iOS apps employ utterly incompatible cloud backup mechanisms, and there is no alternative way to transfer tokens. That would be a deal breaker for users of devices with various operating systems.
Microsoft Authenticator needs around ten times more storage space compared to Google Authenticator, with a range of 150MB-200MB versus 15MB-20MB.
● Operating Systems: Android, iOS
● Type: Freemium
This open-source authenticator software was created when Google closed the source code for its Authenticator app. The FreeOTP interface is ultra-simple, with nothing redundant. The iOS version is especially stripped-down, as it just supports scanning QR codes and doesn’t offer the opportunity to produce a token based on a secret key.
The Android version retains both options, plus it provides a lot of versatility in manual token creation, providing options for the type of code generated (TOTP or HOTP), the length of the code, how the code is generated, and how often it is refreshed.
One problem is that no version of the software enables cloud sync or token export and import via file. Unfortunately, you’re trapped with it once you start using it. Furthermore, in FreeOTP, you cannot set a PIN or otherwise safeguard app access (On iOS, each token can be locked behind Touch ID or Face ID).
By default, the application conceals codes and also automatically hides them after 30 seconds of inactivity.
Finally, unlike Google Authenticator (which needs 15–20MB) and Microsoft Authenticator (which needs 150–200MB), FreeOTP requires only about 2–3MB of storage space.
● Operating Systems: Android, iOS
● Type: Free
One of the earliest authenticator apps, Duo Mobile, was acquired by Cisco in 2018. Its key feature is a simple, easy-to-use interface. Duo Mobile also encrypts codes and does not require an account to use.
Nevertheless, the software lacks other critical features, most notably access protection, which neither the iOS nor Android versions have.
For cloud backup, Duo Mobile employs two systems: The Android version uses Google Cloud, whereas the iOS version uses Apple’s iCloud. Users’ existing Google and Apple accounts are used for this. Thus, they do not need to establish a new account for the app to work.
Considering this, the program does not provide data synchronization across its Android and iOS versions, does not support file export, and does not allow users to view a secret key or QR code for saved tokens, which could be useful in the event of a manual sync requirement.
● Operating Systems: Android, iOS
● Type: Freemium
The andOTP authenticating app contains everything you could possibly need to save tokens in a convenient and safe manner.
Tag support, for example, is one of andOTP’s features, as is the ability to search for tokens by name. Is that not amazing?
There is also the option of connecting a “panic button” so that in the event of an emergency, you can wipe all tokens from the app and reset it.
The app lets you view your secret key or QR code for each token separately. Tokens can be stored in bulk in an encrypted Google Drive file; this may be exported to a file or saved to the cloud with a single mouse click.
App access can be restricted using a password or the fingerprint scanner that you use to log in to your Android device.
Nevertheless, for additional protection, you can create a different PIN or even a strong password just for andOTP, as well as enable the app to lock after a defined period of inaction.
This program is a nerd’s desire, with three or four extra settings sections.
● Operating systems: Android
● Type: Free
You could be envious of Android users after reading the above descriptions of andOTP if you use iOs. The gist is that you can get a state-of-the-art authenticator app for iOS.
Although the designers of OTP auth clearly recognized the issues of people who use 2FA in various applications, this software has a folder system for organizing token storage.
In addition, with OTP authentication, you can check the private key or QR code for any token at any time, as well as export all of them simultaneously on your mobile device.
iCloud sync is also supported by the app. Touch ID or Face ID can be used to protect app login, or a different password can be used for OTP authentication. The only feature that is lacking is the option to hide codes.
● Operating systems: iOS, macOS
● Type: Paid
WinAuth is largely aimed at gamers. The app’s distinguishing feature is its support for unconventional token authentication in games.
Steam Guard, Battle.net Authenticator, and Glyph Authenticator/RIFT Mobile Authenticator might all be replaced by this program. The program also accepts regular tokens, such as those for Guild Wars 2 and other NCSoft games (which the developers specify explicitly), as well as all others, such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
WinAuth requires a password to log in and generate individual tokens. The program automatically hides codes by default and allows you to encrypt the data it keeps and exports.
● Operating systems: Windows
● Type: Open Source
Finally, with data breaches occurring every 39 seconds in today’s digital world, online security has become increasingly crucial. Keeping sensitive information secure now requires more than just a password. Authenticator apps come in handy here, with two-factor and multi-factor authentication adding an extra degree of security.
Google Authenticator, Twilio Authy, Microsoft Authenticator, and FreeOTP are among the authenticator app accessible, each with its own set of functionality. When selecting an authenticator app, consider cross-platform compatibility, cloud backup procedures, storage space, and the ability to generate a PIN.