If you have ever used two-factor authentication before, then you have probably heard of tools like Google Authenticator. To make use of many of these services, you’ll have to have your phone near you. Luckily, there are desktop authenticator apps that can provide you with the secret key you need to log in to your account. Below are the best authenticator apps for the Linux desktop.
Yubico provides tokens for multi-factor authentication. It supports all services which are currently compatible with other authenticator apps, including Google Authenticator.
Yubico works with a hardware security token known as the Yubikey. You can store your credentials on this as opposed to on your device. This hardware security token can even be further secured by choosing to unlock it with either FaceID or TouchID.
With Yubico, you will also be able to easily transition between devices, even after upgrading. The Yubico app lets you generate multiple secrets across devices, making it simple for you to switch.
I have to admit that the security offered by a physical token like the Yubikey is great. However, users must bear in mind that they must have the key with them if they wish to use two-factor authentication. I know you may argue and say this is no better than having to carry a phone with you. However, you can’t put your phone on a keychain! Additionally, it’s tough to crack a hardware token. Someone would have to steal it from you if they wanted to access your data. Even after doing that, they still won’t know any of your passwords or anything else of the sort.
With Yubico Authenticator, you first have to insert your key before you can add services to the app. After inserting your key, you can then add a security token from a service you want to enable two-factor authentication for. This is an app more for a power user due to the steps that must be taken to get it set up.
Yubico is available in the Snap Store, so you can easily install it with a command such as:
sudo snap install yubioath-desktop
Authy is one of the best-rated authenticator apps. It is available on a number of platforms including Linux. You can install Authy from the Snap Store, and it is also available in most repositories.
For example, you can use the app with the fingerprint scanners of devices that have them. You can also back up your Authy data to Authy’s secure cloud. This means you will be able to access your data even if you lose your phone. You can sync your Authy data across different devices so that you can generate two-factor authentication tokens for your services regardless of the device you’re using.
Authy keeps your data safe by doing things like encrypting your authentication data and not storing your passwords on its servers. It also generates a token directly on your device to avoid any security issues with text messages and voice-based options.
Setting up Authy is simple. Just go the service you want to use Authy with and generate a secret key. You can’t scan barcodes, but then again, depending on the type of computer you’re using, scanning barcodes won’t be convenient anyway.
While Authy does a good job of keeping your data safe, I don’t like the fact that your account is linked to your phone number. To me, this will create a problem whenever you change numbers. Authy does warn us about this, but I would prefer to have the account linked to an email address.
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