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Forget SMS: these are the best apps to verify your identity on the internet


Elon Musk's decision to charge for SMS to verify the identity of Twitter users highlights two-step authentication services

Twitter announced by surprise a few days ago that it is going to start charging its users for having two-step verification via SMS message.

This additional security layer involves using a second method in order to access a social networking service or email account;

that is, if a user wants to access their Twitter account from a mobile or computer that is not the usual one, it will be necessary to confirm the access by means of an SMS sent to the mobile.

It is one of the easiest ways to avoid


an account.

In two-step verification (also known as 2FA), there are several ways to identify the user: through that text message that is sent to the mobile, or through a temporary code generated by an application .

Twitter has now confirmed that only Blue subscribers, its paid version, will be able to continue using SMS as a validation method;

but the second option, verification through the app, remains free.

Paradoxically, experts agree that the latter is much more secure than using SMS, due to the growing threat of identity theft using a duplicate SIM.

Elon Musk himself, owner of Twitter, reminded him: SMS is the least secure method of 2FA.

What, then, are the best applications to shield access to Twitter and other services on the web?

Use of free authentication apps for 2FA will remain free and are much more secure than SMS

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 18, 2023


Authy has been one of the most mentioned applications these days on networks as an alternative to SMS, and not by chance: this application is the one that has the best ratings from users.

This popular application allows you to generate temporary codes that replace SMS (highly recommended, beyond reducing the possibility of a cyberattack, since you don't need to be connected to the Internet).

Actually, there are several applications that fulfill this task, but Authy manages to integrate the function into a very simple interface, with the possibility of protecting access biometrically (using the face or fingerprint, depending on what the device allows), and completely free of charge.

No data delivery in return?

Indeed, Authy explains it: its market is found in the companies, which are the ones that, in the end, finance this totally free product.


While there are many apps —such as Authy— dedicated solely to generating temporary codes for 2FA, other more complex apps also include password management.

That is, they allow to generate and store the passwords of different accounts, so that even the user does not get to know them when entering biometrically.

1Password is, along with Lastpass, one of the old acquaintances in the market, and it maintains a clean file in terms of security.

The generation of 2FA codes (those used to replace SMS) is just one more part of a great application that manages and stores different passwords.

Unlike Authy and offering more features, this cross-platform app is paid but offers full integration across different platforms and browsers.

In this way, when a service is accessed, the username and password can be invoked both from the mobile and from the browser without having to change the application.


Apple has always made privacy its flag, and for this reason its Keychain function, integrated into iCloud, has evolved, incorporating the possibility of generating temporary codes (2FA).

In this way, users of the ecosystem can add temporary passwords that will be synchronized through iCloud on the rest of the devices.

Tim Cook's incorporate this function completely free of charge, so it can be a solid option for those who use an iPhone, Mac or iPad.

Californians tend to commit penance to sin and as a point against it, an excessive integration of Llavero in the system makes it not very intuitive when it comes to editing, modifying or adding a temporary password.

As with 1Password, Apple Keychain allows you to store and generate passwords, as well as support temporary access codes.

Google Authenticator / Microsoft Authenticator

Google was, along with Microsoft, one of the first big companies to bet on two-factor verification, developing their respective applications to generate temporary codes.

We are presenting the two apps together as they basically offer the same functionality, but Microsoft has been able to take the lead by adding valuable additional features.

Thus, while in the Google app it is not possible to configure any password or access biometrics (with which, anyone who has access to the mobile will also have access to the codes), Microsoft Authenticator closes access to all users who do not be the owner.

The powerful app from Redmond, totally free, offers interesting improvements in terms of the user, such as what they have dubbed "password-free authentication", consisting of a notification window on a linked device, with which, with a single touch, can access the service.

The Microsoft app also allows the autofill of passwords, which can be entered automatically from the browser.


Finally, and for those who want high-level protection for their accounts, the safest alternative to two-step verification is to use a physical key.

In this sense, the Yubico firm is dedicated to combining 2FA with pendrive-type keys that include biometric authentication;

that is, in an initial configuration of the account, the user must touch the key with his finger and the system will generate a temporary code.

All this information is stored encrypted in the cloud and the system supports the main services (Facebook, Google, Dropbox...).

Yubico offers several types of keys (with USB-C and Lightning connector, and also wireless via NFC).

The incorporation of a physical element undoubtedly adds an additional security layer, although the authentication process (it is done once per device;

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Source: elparis

All tech articles on 2023-02-21

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