Nowadays, online account security is becoming more important than ever. With the rising cases of hacking, phishing, and other types of cyberattacks, protecting your online accounts has become something that you need to do as soon as possible.
Two-factor authentication is one of the best ways to protect online accounts, and there are several ways you can implement two-factor authentication in your account.
Most platforms will allow you to activate two-factor authentication to increase the security and privacy of your online accounts. One way to use this feature is to send an SMS message to your mobile number containing the authentication code every time you log into your account.
Another way is to send the code via your email address. Also, it is possible to use two-factor authentication via the authenticator tools.
In this guide, you will learn about two popular authenticator tools, which are YubiKey and Google Authenticator.
What is YubiKey?
YubiKey is a hardware-based authentication tool that you can use to protect your smartphone and computer from any possible hacking or phishing attacks. With YubiKey, you can secure your hardware and use the YubiKey device as the key for you to access your hardware.
It is a type of two-factor authentication, but you will use a physical device to activate your hardware access. With this device, your hardware is 100% secure and private, and only you can access it.
YubiKey is available for individuals, businesses, and developers, each with features designed for specific users. It is available in various device types, most with the NFC technology built-in.
So, you can either use it by plugging it into the USB slot of your computer or by using the NFC technology to access your smartphone.
You can configure each YubiKey device with your own preferences, so you can use it for every smartphone and computer device you own.
Official URL: https://www.yubico.com/
What is Google Authenticator?
Google Authenticator is a software-based authenticator app that you can use for various online platforms that support two-step verification.
With Google Authenticator, you will need to link your online accounts using the provided QR code when you choose to enable two-step verification for it.
Google Authenticator will generate the authentication code for your online accounts even with no data connection available.
It keeps on generating codes for your online accounts, and you just need to enter the random codes generated by the Google Authenticator app whenever you need to log into your account. It will need access to your phone’s camera to enable the QR scanning feature to link your account with the Google Authenticator app.
Official URL: Google Authenticator
As the hardware-based authentication tool, YubiKey offers features that are not available in various software-based authentication apps. With YubiKey, the users can ensure the security and privacy of their whole device, instead of just their online accounts.
You can lock your smartphone or computer with YubiKey, so nobody else can access it. Only you can access your smartphone or computer using your YubiKey device.
Here are some features of YubiKey:
- It offers you the physical security key that you can configure for any device you want to protect, including a smartphone and computer.
- You can use the YubiKey device just by plugging it onto your device or tapping it on your device.
- You don’t need to enter any passcode every time you want to access your device.
- It also works with various online accounts, so you don’t need to use any authenticator app for those accounts.
- It comes in different form factors, which you can choose based on your needs.
Google Authenticator Features
Google Authenticator gives you the security and privacy you need for your online accounts. With this app, you don’t need to worry about your account getting hacked or attacked, as the hackers will need to have the authentication codes before they can access your account.
The good thing about Google Authenticator is that the random authentication codes will change every 30 seconds to ensure maximum security for your online accounts.
Here are some features of Google Authenticator:
- It is free to use, and it is available on Android and iOS platforms.
- It can work offline, so you don’t need to have a data connection all the time.
- The codes will change every 30 seconds, so it is very secure to use.
- It works with most accounts that require app-based authentication.
- It has a simple QR code setup, and you can transfer your accounts between devices with ease.
YubiKey vs. Google Authenticator: Which One is Best?
Both YubiKey and Google Authenticator have their own function and purpose. So, to think about the best one among them will depend on your needs. You can use YubiKey if you want to protect your whole devices, such as your smartphone or computer so that nobody can access your device without the YubiKey authentication system.
It will come with a price, as you will need to buy the physical hardware first. However, it is a small investment compared to the benefits you will get for your device and account security.
As for Google Authenticator, it is available for free. So, it’s a great way to protect your online accounts from hackers and cyberattacks without having to invest in any physical hardware. You just need to install the app on your smartphone.
However, you can’t use Google Authenticator to protect your whole device, as there is no physical hardware available for you to use. So again, you need to choose between these two authenticator tools based on your needs.
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You’ve learned about YubiKey and Google Authenticator and how they will benefit your online accounts. These tools will give you a lot of advantages to increase your account security, as there will be no way for hackers to access your account without having access to the authenticator tool as well.
Pick the authenticator tool based on your needs. Use YubiKey if you want a hardware-based authentication tool, and you can use Google Authenticator if you want an app-based authentication tool.
Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Just pick one of them, and your accounts will become more secure and private.