Choosing the Best 2FA Method: Google Authenticator vs Yubikey

Two of the most popular 2FA methods are Google Authenticator and Yubikey Authenticator. In this article, we'll compare Google Authenticator vs Yubikey and help you decide which one is better for your security needs.

In today's digital age, securing our online accounts is becoming more important than ever. With the increasing risk of cyber attacks, it's essential to use a reliable two-factor authentication (2FA) method. Two of the most popular 2FA methods are Google Authenticator and Yubikey Authenticator.

Google Authenticator: What Is It?

Google Authenticator is a mobile app that generates one-time passwords (OTP) for 2FA. It works by scanning a QR code provided by the service you're trying to access and generating a unique code that you'll need to enter to complete the login process. The app is free to download and use and is available on both iOS and Android devices.

Yubikey Authenticator: What Is It?

Yubikey Authenticator is a hardware device that provides an additional layer of security to your online accounts. It's a small USB or NFC device that stores your 2FA codes and requires a physical touch to generate a code. The Yubikey Authenticator can be used with various services that support 2FA and can also be used for passwordless login. However, Yubikey Authenticator is not free and can cost between $20 and $50 per device.

Google Authenticator vs Yubikey: What Are the Differences?

The main difference between Google Authenticator and Yubikey Authenticator is the way they work. Google Authenticator is a software-based solution, while Yubikey Authenticator is a hardware-based solution. Google Authenticator generates OTP codes, while Yubikey Authenticator stores codes on the device. Another significant difference is the price. Google Authenticator is free, while Yubikey Authenticator can be expensive.

Pros and Cons of Google Authenticator


  • Can transfer backups to another GA app
  • Free to use
  • Easy to set up
  • Compatible with many services


  • Vulnerable to phishing attacks
  • One device per account
  • Requires a smartphone

Pros and Cons of Yubikey Authenticator


  • More secure than software-based solutions
  • Can be used on multiple devices
  • Passwordless login option


  • No backup transfer as opposed to GA
  • Can be expensive
  • Requires a physical device
  • May not be compatible with all services


Both Google Authenticator and Yubikey Authenticator are excellent options for securing your online accounts. Ultimately, the choice between Google Authenticator vs Yubikey depends on your security needs and budget. And to stay on the safe side, do not forget about other security tools you can use - secure and strong passwords, multisignature wallets, risk management platforms like Apostro and, of course, staying up to date with the new security developments!