Yubikey vs. Google Authenticator- Manage your online accounts securely without cramming passwords

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Most people fall prey to cyber crimes due to the lack of taking the necessary steps to boost online privacy. This Yubikey vs. Google Authenticator review will help you choose the right security measure to boost security online.

I have always liked the convenience of getting products and services online. They save me a lot of time since I have a busy schedule. After using numerous sites to pay for different services, one incident made me stick to analog for a while. I was once tricked into giving out my financial details to a fake site that looked legit. They ended up emptying my bank account within minutes, and I was left penniless. It was such a painful experience that the thought of using online accounts made me sad. My friend shared her secret of how she kept her accounts safe from cyber crimes and introduced me to different techniques. I was torn between Yubikey and Google authenticator, so I compared them in this table.

What are the differences between Yubikey and google authenticator? How do they compare

Name Yubikey Google Authenticator
Type Hardware Software
Installation/ no installation No Yes
2FA implementations U2F TOTP
Call to action View on Amazon View on Amazon

 Yubikey vs. Google Authenticator- What are the major differences?

2FA implementations

Most of the websites offer users account protection in the form of two set factor authentication (2FA). The implementation includes types such asUniversal second factor (U2F) and Time based one-time password (TOTP). Google authenticator implements TOTP in which you enter a one-time code to log in to your account. Yubikey, on the other hand, implements U2F standards which protect you from cybercrimes like phishing.

TOTP is inadequate and has a lot of weaknesses such as it adds an extra login step since you have to enter the code manually. It is also not secure since the backup codes have to be set online and the backing up your data is a cumbersome process. The use of U2F makes Yubikey not only easy to use but also private since no secret is shared due to the use of a security key.


Yubikey is also more secure compared Google Authenticator since the provider does not store confidential database. This prevents a hacker from accessing your information. Due to the use of private keys, you don’t have to rely on any company to protect your secrets. Google Authenticator is a software meaning you have to rely on the provider to protect your data on your behalf.


Yubikey vs. google authenticator

Whether you want to log into your email through your computer or use online services, you can do so securely with the help of Yubikey. Unlike other security systems, you don’t have to install any software for you to secure your account. You only have to plug in the device into your USB port and click on the button to get secure authentication. It prevents hackers from acquiring your identification easily since they would need the physical key to do so.

The hardware supports public key encryption, FIDO2 protocols, and one time passwords. You can store static passwords on the sites which don’t support one time passwords. You don’t have to type codes on your phone anymore. The single key works with numerous services such as Facebook, Google, LastPass, and even Dropbox.


  • It is secure and easy to use
  • Does not need any installation
  • It is water-proof and crash-proof


  • You require two keys

Google Authenticator

Yubikey vs. google authenticator

Everyone should implement the use of two-factor authentication system to boost online security. Google Authenticator is a software token which uses a one-time password algorithm to authenticate users by Google. It is available on both Android smartphones.

When you log into a website that supports applications like password managers, the software token generates an eight digit password which you must enter as you key in your login details.  The app lets you access all the codes conveniently through your phone from a central location. You can even receive codes even when your phone has no internet connection. For you to use this app, you have to turn on the 2 step verification system.


  • An intruder cannot break into your account even if they know your password and username
  • It is user-friendly


  • You may have to install another app if you are looking for additional features


Though security can never be enough, relying on poor systems makes you vulnerable to hackers. For a while, we have relied on passwords to keep our information safe, but the high rate of identity theft is a clear indicator that you need more than passwords on your accounts.

After comparing Yubikey vs. google authenticator, I discovered that both systems secure your accounts well and therefore I chose both to help me manage different accounts. I use google authenticator for my phone and Yubikey as a backup. Since I have to choose a winner, I think Yubikey wins due to its high performance. The authentication hardware gives me an easy and quick way to protect all my accounts. I also like the wide range of support since I can use it for my personal and business needs.


How can I secure my accounts online?

You should implement proper security measures such as using hardware like Yubikey or google authenticator software to prevent yourself from cyber crime. Compare them to choose the right one.

How can I set up Google Authenticator?

Make sure you have an android tablet or smartphone, then go to the settings app. Tap it the security label and sign in to Google before tapping the 2-step verification region. Look for area names “Set up alternative second step” then find google authenticator app and click on Set up.

How can I use Yubikey?

You need to register your device by going to the security settings of the supported service, then choosing two-factor authentication. Insert the Yubikey into the USB port and tap the golden region.

Is Yubikey safe to use?

Yes. Using physical keys makes it hard for hackers to monitor your online activities better than relying on software. It is also portable and convenient to use.