Android phones can now be used as a physical security key to your Google account

Worried about your digital security? Google has released a new way to get secure two-factor authentication that uses your phone as a kind of physical security key. In other words, if your phone has Android 7 or newer, you can use the physical device to log into Google apps and services on another device, without the need for a dongle.

To use the new feature, you will need to connect your phone to a computer through Bluetooth using the Chrome browser — and Chrome will then use the phone to verify a login. The new tech will work for logging into Gmail, G Suite, Google Cloud, and any other Google service that uses the FIDO authentication standard.

Of course, you might know that there are already ways to use your phone to log in to Google apps and services, including Google Prompt. Prompt, however, doesn’t require your phone to be near the computer you’re logging into — meaning that someone could still try and spoof your account without being anywhere near your phone.

There are plenty of reasons why it’s a good idea to enable two-factor authentication — but the most obvious is that it essentially prevents someone from logging into your account even if they’ve gotten hold of your password. Some two-factor authentication methods are a little less secure than others — but this new one is ultra secure as it requires your phone to be near the computer you’re logging in to.

How to use your phone for two-factor authentication

It’s pretty easy to enable the phone-based two-factor authentication. Simply follow the steps below to get started.

  1. Make sure you’re using a phone with Android 7 or later and the Chrome browser on macOS, Chrome OS, or Windows 10.
  2. Sign in to your Google account on your Android phone, and turn on Bluetooth.
  3. Head to myaccount.google.com/security in your Chrome browser on your computer, and hit the two-step verification button.
  4. Press the add a security key option, and select your phone from the list of devices.

You’ll now be able to use your phone for two-factor authentication to log in to Google services in any Chrome browser.

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