Google Authenticator Alternative With the fast-growing risk of hacking, two-factor authentication is a second layer of security. In two-factor authentication, we need two keys to log into an account. Two-factor authentication is available with almost all accounts nowadays. There will be very few service providers that do not provide this layer of security.
What is Two-factor Authentication?
To manage the services, any type of service provider provides a username and password to its users. The user has to keep the username and password secured. If any other person, somehow manages to get access to the username and password, he will be able to log in and manage the services. This was a weak point in security.
The security companies came up with the solution in the form of two-factor authentication. In two-factor authentication, the service provider will require two keys to log into the account. The first key will be a password and the second key will be OTP. The OTP stands for One Time Password. As soon as the user tries to log into the account by entering its password, the service provider will send a one-time password via SMS to the registered mobile number of the user. The user will have to enter this OTP at the next login screen and then the user will be able to successfully logged into the account.
Problems with SMS One Time Password
Because the OTP is traveling via a Cellular mobile network on the cell phone, sometimes due to network congestion the OTP takes a long time to deliver. The login session will timeout in a few minutes and OTP will become useless. The same thing will happen with OTP via email.
Also, some cellular network service provider charges to receive SMS so that can be a bit expensive as well.
Google is one of the well-known companies in the world. They came up with the solution in the form of Google Authenticator. It is an application that can register n number of accounts and provide the OTP for them. The OTP will change every 30 seconds. It does not even matter if your phone has an internet connection or not. It does not require even a cellular network. As long as the device can switch on, you can get the OTP.
Problems with Google Authenticator
PIN Feature not Available
Google authenticator application does not have a PIN locking feature natively. Anyone who has the access to your smartphone has the access to your all accounts’ two-factor authentication codes.
No Backup for 2FA Codes
The second problem with Google authenticator is that they don’t provide any support for 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) backup. I had more than 20 accounts registered with it and I lost my phone. All of a sudden I lost all 2FAs.
I had to go to all service providers and verify myself by providing billing and contact information because I did not download backup codes. The majority of the users don’t keep the backup codes for their accounts.
There are service providers who do not even provide backup codes. If you have lost the 2FA code then you will have to create a new account or they will remove all your data. I know two such service providers.
- Mega Cloud Storage
- Firefox Account
Google Authenticator Alternative
Authy is an alternative to Google Authenticator. I have been using Authy for more than 3 months now and the experience is excellent.
All the problems with Google Authenticator have been resolved by Authy. The application has support for the PIN Locking feature. If somehow anyone gets your phone will not get access to your accounts’ 2FAs.
Authy provides backup for all 2FAs. Just in case if we lose access to our phone, we can set up the Authy on a different device in no time and Authy will give us back all the 2FAs in a single verification. We don’t need to go to all the service providers with the backup codes.
It is way more convenient to verify yourself at one point than giving backup codes to all service providers.
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