How to Improve your two-factor authentication

There are many different threats on the Internet now and users have to be aware of these threats and find a way to protect their information. One important step in protecting your online accounts is using two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is typically done using your phone since it is never too far away. But setting up two-factor authentication on your smartphone for all the accounts you have can be confusing and time consuming. But Authy is a new app and service that can make it easier to implement two-factor authentication.

In a previous blog posts I talked about how to stay secure on the Internet, and in that post I talked about using two-factor authentication as an extra step to verify who you are. If you are not familiar with what exactly two-factor authentication is, or want to refresher check out my post for more information. And while there are many existing services available to set up two-factor authentication including Google Authenticator these can be hard to configure on your smartphone or device. As well as time consuming if you have many different online accounts.  Authy is a two-factor authentication service that works on almost all devices including your desktop computer, it is just not available for windows phone.


Other than being able to use Authy on almost all devices there are many features that make Authy stand out when compared to other two-factor authentication services. One of the first features you will notice about Authy is the support for tons of online services like Google, Dropbox, Amazon, Facebook and others. This allows you to have one app or service to provided two-factor tokens to the many different online accounts you log in to.

Different Authy Services

Different Authy Services

So it is fairly easy to setup Authy as the two-factor authentication for your online services. You can setup Authy two ways either by scanning a QR code using the Authy app on your phone that you get from the security settings page for your online accounts. If the website does not have a QR code setup you can also use a secret key to setup the two-factor authentication. To setup a new online account to use Authy two-factor authentication you can either set it up through your phone or computer. To set it up on your phone open the Authy app and click Add Account, this will bring you to a screen that states you can add an account to Authy with either a QR code or manually with a key. Then you will need to log into the online account and setup the two-factor authentication on the account. Most websites have a QR code that you can scan to setup the two-factor and this is an easier way than entering in the key. Once you scan the QR code Authy will ask what logo you want to use and what name to call the account. Then the last step is entering in the number generated by Authy into the website to confirm the two-factor token was setup.  Now whenever you log into the website you will be prompted for the two-factor token from Authy.

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Once you have Authy setup, that’s when things get awesome because unlike other two-factor services, Authy has a secure cloud-based backup and uses syncing between devices. This means all of the two-factor tokens you have setup will be backed up to the cloud and synced to all of your devices with Authy installed. If your phone is lost, stolen, or wiped, it’s as simple as installing Authy and signing back in to your account to restore all of your tokens. With built-in support for syncing across multiple devices, you will always have access to your two-factor tokens without having to setup new tokens.

To increase the security of your accounts, Authy can protect access to your two-factor tokens on your computer or device with a security pin or master password. This will require you to enter a pin on your mobile device or a master password when you open the app and will keep access open for 60 seconds after you have stopped using the app. If you share a computer or mobile device you will want to enable the additional security pin or master password to ensure your online accounts stay secure.

Required Pin to open Authy

Required Pin to open Authy

Overall Authy is a good app available to help manage all of your two-factor authentication tokens. Unlike other apps which also setup two-factor tokens, Authy has some great features to make life easier for you and keep your information secure. Authy works on almost all platforms and with many different online services so if you want to improve your security I would recommend you check out Authy and see if it works for you.

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