Your Android phone can now be used as a two-step verification key

Yolanda Curtis
April 11, 2019

Security keys offer one of the most secure authentication methods for logging into an account - it requires plugging in a physical key.

Once enabled, you'll get a prompt on your chosen Android device to approve your login any time you try to sign into your Google account. It's probably your most important account, assuming you use a lot of Google services and protecting it is a must. But with your phone as a 2SV key, there is a good chance it'll always be on you, while a dedicated USB-C or Bluetooth key may not be. The feature is now limited to accessing a Google account on the Chrome web browser through a Bluetooth-enabled Chrome OS, Mac, or Windows device.

Choose your Android phone from the list of available devices and you're done!

While any form of two-step verification improves your security, security keys are immune to phishing attacks - it doesn't matter if a hacker tricks you into handing over your credentials if they don't have your key.

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.

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

If you have a phone running Android 7.0 Nougat or higher, you can now use it as a FIDO security key. But more importantly, you will need to use the Google Chrome browser for the feature to work.

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