Android’s reputation within the cyber security community is quite poor. Consistently high reports of vulnerabilities over the years is part of the reason why. It often finds itself lagging behind iOS in this department.
Improved Two-Factor Authentication
To curb their vulnerabilities, Google has now updated its two-factor authentication system to include physical authentication keys. They work like any other key, such as our house key or our car key. They connect to your device directly through a USB port, or wirelessly via Bluetooth or NFC.
Google has always had two-factor authentication. After entering your password, you could one of a few ways for 2FA, such as
- Answer a prompt on your phone, asking if you wish to sign in.
- Receive a voice/text message with a code.
- Print out a backup code (useful if you don’t have internet access)
- Use an authenticator app.
Now, you can use a physical authenticator to secure your Google account. It can be set up directly from your Android device via Google Chrome, or on macOS using Safari. The Android device needs to be running at least Android 7.0, running Google Chrome v70 or newer. On macOS, users need to be running Safari 13.0.4 or higher. This version of Safari is available on macOS Mojave, High Sierra and Catalina.
Google Account Physical Authenticator Setup
You can find the option to add a physical authenticator in the security section of your Google Account’s settings. Once in that menu, you will find the 2-Step Verification option under the “Signing in to Google” section.
Here, click on 2-Step Verification and you will see the option to add a “Security Key” under the menu titled “Add more second steps to verify that it’s you.” The actual setup process varies depending on how you want to set it all up.
Importance Of Online Security
Due to the amount of data that is tied to our online accounts, it is important to be conscious of their security. If it falls into the wrong hands, it may cause us great distress. Now, you can set up these security keys directly from your phone. Thus, improving account security is as easy as it has ever been.
Hackers may especially target our smartphones, due to how reliant we are on them on a day-to-day basis. We carry them with us everywhere, post to the internet from them, make transactions, etc.
Products like the Yubikey, Kensington Verimark and Google’s own Titan keys are some of your options if you wish to use physical authenticators to shield against such attacks.