You may have heard from people that matter to you about the need to secure your digital accounts using the two-factor authentication. Access to your online bank and social media accounts require a special code, in addition to, a hard to crack the password.

What is Two-Factor Authentication? 

2FA is a special code for an account, also referred to as a line of defense to sensitive data. The idea behind 2FA is that basic password is not enough, especially for the sensitive online accounts. If the password is guessed right by hackers, your data could be stolen and unfortunately, identity theft statistics show this is happening all too often.

2FA is a secondary code, usually of about six characters that is required to be generated by a smartphone app. Even if a hacker obtains your primary password, they will require the 2FA to get to your account, making the process tougher.

How Safe is the Two-Factor Identification? 

2FA may be the go-to solution for securing your sensitive digital data, but it doesn’t come without challenges. Being a new method of securing online data, hackers are still somewhat of a threat. First, understand that not all 2FAs are made the same, meaning some can be easy to crack.

Most apps are supported by Dropbox and Rackspace, among others, meaning you are likely to get code verification via SMS. With an SMS, your code could potentially be intercepted, the reason it is necessary to rely on hardware or software-based solutions.

The other wrong path many people take is the use of the same password on different accounts. For instance, if you use the password for your email and PayPal, a hacker could easily access the code on email and log into your PayPal account.

The Best Two-Factor Authentication Apps 

Sometimes, using the 2FA app can be annoying, especially if you have to log into your account, and then wait for minutes for the 2FA application to open. What you need to consider is speed when choosing a 2FA app. The app should also be free; you do not have to pay for it.

Google Authenticator 

Google Authenticator
Google Authenticator
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

This is a very easy-to-use app that is free from Google. It is a smartphone application that is available on Android and iOS. You only need to enable the 2FA on Gmail and Facebook, among others. Once it’s enabled, you will be asked to take the QR code snapshot, and the authenticator will start to generate codes.

Authy 

Authy 2-Factor Authentication
Authy 2-Factor Authentication
Developer: Authy
Price: Free

Perhaps no app is better than Authy. It is rich in features, highly responsive and convenient. The app is available in android, chrome, windows, iOS and Mac. All sites supporting Google Authenticator automatically support Authy. Its multi-device sync and backups make this app stand out among the rest.

LastPass Authenticator 

LastPass Authenticator
LastPass Authenticator
Developer: LogMeIn, Inc.
Price: Free

LastPass, primarily a password manager, simplifies the unlocking of an account to one tap. This is what sets it apart from most others. You can tap it in some accounts to confirm it as your second factor. However, it does not sync 2FA logins, meaning you have to reset it if you change your device.

Although two-factor authentication comes with some friction each time you log in, it is worth it. Any time you hear of some massive breaching of data, you will be safe, knowing that your 2FA has your account and data locked in.