Authy Vs Google Authenticator: Comparing Two-Factor Authenticators

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto, Suebsiri

The number of companies affected due to data breaches has increased over the years. This shows that passwords alone do not provide enough security for your apps and online accounts. With businesses large and small falling victim to these data leaks and security breaches, software engineers have developed authentication security measures to ensure Zero Trust security for all businesses. Authy and Google Authenticator are two popular two-factor authentication (2FA) tools currently circulating in the market.

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What is Authy?

Authy by Twilio is a free cross-device support app for two-factor authentication. Authy enhances your online security by sending a one-time password (OTP) to your mobile or desktop device, syncing directly with the website or service to grant you access.

In addition to sending the OTP to your device, Authy also uses software tokens or time-based one-time passwords (TOTPs), which can be generated even when your device is not connected to the data network. . Additionally, the Authy Authenticator app also supports stronger security measures with its push authentication solution that adds advanced protection features to your account.

What is Google Authenticator?

Google Authenticator is a free authentication app for iOS and Android for two-factor authentication. As one of the leading authenticator apps, it has been widely adopted by many websites and apps.

With Google Authenticator, all you need is to activate the app on your device and take a snapshot of the Quick Response Code (QR code) it generates. Then your device is synced with the app. Like other two-factor authentication tools, Google Authenticator allows timecodes to be generated on the app to access an online account.

Authy vs Google Authenticator: Feature Comparison

Authy and Google Authenticator are state-of-the-art tools that provide the ability to secure data through two-factor authentication. Authy provides advanced security features along with multi-device platform support, allowing users to ensure data security across multiple devices. Comparatively, Google Authenticator offers a simple, easy-to-use app that’s ideal for those who don’t need all the robust options provided by Authy.

Characteristic authy Google Authenticator
Multi-device platform support Yes. Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux and Apple Watch No. Android and iOS
Security Capabilities Yes Yes
Works offline Yes Yes
Backups and synchronization Yes. Automatic synchronization between authorized devices Yes. Manual transfer of accounts from one device to another
Authentication supported OTP via SMS or voice call two-factor authentication.

TOTP generated in the application.

Push notifications triggered when accessing the registered site.

No OTP.

TOTP generated in the application.

HOTP generated in the application.

Backups and synchronization

Authy lets you back up data and sync your two-factor authentication account tokens across multiple devices like mobile phones, tablets, and desktop computers. The app’s backup feature, which is one of its most important features, supports encryption and recovery of backed up accounts from their server. As long as you enable the multi-device feature in the Authy Authenticator app, you have no worries about getting your Authy tokens back, even when you lose your device.

While Google Authenticator allows users to transfer their accounts to a new device, the old device must be available for this to work. This is because the Google Authenticator app does not encrypt backups on the server like Authy does.

Security Capabilities

It is essential that your authenticator app is protected with a PIN or password to avoid situations where bad actors can easily gain access to the app. To this extent, Authy uses a PIN code and a biometric authentication system to protect data against unauthorized use. This ensures that anyone without your Authy password or PIN will not have access to tokens generated from the app. Authy also encrypts all backups, ensuring your data is safe from hackers. Additionally, if a user loses their device, cloud-based backups allow them to easily access their credentials securely on another device.

SEE: Mobile Device Security Policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Although Google Authenticator offers quality security, it misses out on this important security feature. If a device is lost or stolen, Google Authenticator can put your data at risk because it lacks passcodes or biometric authentication alternatives to prevent an unauthorized user from gaining access.

Support for multiple devices

The Authy authenticator app lets you sync your accounts across multiple devices. Whether you are using a device running iOS, Android, Mac, Linux or Windows, Authy works in all areas. Moreover, this authenticator app works well on both desktop and mobile devices.

However, the same cannot be said for Google Authenticator, which is built and supported only on mobile devices. iOS and Android are the two operating systems compatible with Google Authenticator.

Choosing between Authy and Google Authenticator

Whether you run a small business or a conglomerate, there are situations that justify the need to grant employees access to critical systems and information. But granting access to sensitive information without additional security measures can be unsettling. Thus, the use of 2FA can help companies secure remote access to organizational data.

Although Authy and Google Authenticator are two of the best authenticator apps that anyone can rely on, there are some factors that should be considered before adopting them. Google Authenticator is a good choice for anyone looking for a simple and easy to use tool. At the same time, users who prefer a higher level of protection in the two-factor authentication process can do the same. However, keep in mind that anyone who can crack the phone can access your Google Authenticator app.

Authy, on the other hand, improves the security of passcodes by allowing users to protect the application by PIN code. Also, Authy is ideal for customers who regularly change phones or want the program to sync across many devices. Since all data is encrypted, your codes will not be stolen as they travel between the device and the cloud.

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