Published: Thu, April 11, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Google turns Android smartphones into account security keys

Google turns Android smartphones into account security keys

This is all part of the search giant's grand plan to make our digital lives safer and easier, as the latest technology unveiled yesterday essentially makes physical security keys obsolete.

Of course, two-step verification (or 2SV) has been around for a long time, allowing users to strengthen their passwords with things like text message codes and push notifications.

The company recently paved the way for more Bluetooth-equipped devices to be recognized as security keys.

In a bid to further boost the security of users' Google account and linked services, Google has rolled out a new version of 2 step verification (2SV) or 2-factor authentication (2FA), which turns any Android smartphone into a physical security key. But more importantly, you will need to use the Google Chrome browser for the feature to work.

Google's implementation of this Android feature also uses the FIDO standards, which means that it should be supported in whichever browser or operating system that supports those standards.

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The idea is you'll have to keep the phone close to the computer when verifying the sign-in process by following a few simple instructions, which will make account phishing practically impossible.

"Think of it like a security key in nearly every modern Android phone. a very easy-to-use form factor for over a billion users", Rob Sadowski, Google's Trust and Security marketing lead, told reporters last week.

The system - now in beta - can be used to access ChromeOS, macOS or Windows 10 computers running Chrome, and can replace or supplement other FIDO-based security keys like Google's own Titan Security Key.

From the 2-Step Verification page, you'll need to scroll down and select Add Security Key.

Scroll down to the section labeled "Set up an alternative second step" and then click on the "Add Security Key" button.

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