Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a quick way to vastly improve security of online accounts. Support for 2FA is common among web services these days, and you should definitely enable it wherever available. With 2FA on, you will need an extra step of authentication besides your password to prove it’s really you accessing your account. The second authentication can be through a hardware USB key, or a one-time code generated by a 2FA app, or a one-time code sent over SMS or call. Out of these, the 2FA app is our personal recommendation, as it bypasses the expense and hassle of keeping a physical key, and also doesn’t carry the slight risk of spoofing/phishing associated with SMS codes.
There are many 2FA apps out there, and you might have heard of popular ones like Google Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator. Both apps are fine by most measures, but they share an issue that’s common across most 2FA apps – you cannot use them on multiple devices. You can backup and move your codes from one phone to another, but you can only have them configured on one device at a time. This is where Authy comes in as a superior alternative, and why it’s our easy pick for 2FA. Authy supports most services that have 2FA like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and such. It allows you to sync your codes securely through a backup password and access them from multiple devices. Everything’s encrypted so Authy can neither read the codes nor retrieve them if you forget your backup password.
Switching to Authy from another 2FA app requires a few steps, but it’s not too difficult. You will have temporarily disable 2FA from the account settings, then enable it again, this time using Authy instead of your old 2FA app for the setup. Once this is correctly setup for all accounts, you’re good to delete your old 2FA app and start using Authy. Wired has a helpful article on this topic.