Authy Makes Using Two-Factor Authentication Easier By Connecting Your Phone And Mac Over Bluetooth

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Authy, the Y Combinator-backed security startup that aims to make two-factor authentication as secure and easy to use as possible, launched a new product today that makes using it quite a bit easier. Authy now lets you connect your phone and Mac (Windows coming later) over Bluetooth to get your authentication code from its app without the need to type it yourself. Authy simply puts your code into your computer’s clipboard and all you have to do is paste it into the right form to log into sites like Gmail, Dropbox and others that support two-factor authentication.

The system, Authy founder Daniel Palacio told me, uses Bluetooth 4.0 low energy to ensure that this won’t drain your phone’s battery. The main idea here is to remove even more of the hassle of using two-factor authentication. The Authy team believes that while users are often aware of the (greatly) enhanced security they get by using technologies like this, the complications that comes with using Authy, Google Authenticator and similar tools often keep them from using them.

To get started, you simply install Authy’s desktop tool and then pair your Mac with your phone. Then, whenever you need a code, you just open the OS X desktop toolbar, select the site you want to log in to and your code is automatically copied to your clipboard. Users, of course, can also still just type in the codes from their phone if it isn’t paired to the computer.

To ensure that nobody can intercept the communication between the phone and computer, Authy uses elliptic curve cryptography to encode the data. This, Palacio said, is faster than using more standard cryptography schemes over Bluetooth and still provides a very high degree of security.

In the near future, Palacio told me, users will be able to skip pasting their authentication codes into their browsers and Authy will just do this for them if the phone is connected to the computer.

After almost exactly a year on the market, Authy now protects more than 100,000 accounts, and the company says it’s talking to a lot of enterprise customers and potential partners to bring its technology to more people in the near future.