Your Android phone is now a physical security key

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

This will drastically improve the security when logging into Google applications and prevent phishing attacks. And Google's latest solution is a similar, hardware-based approach that's actually based on the prominent FIDO2 standard.

Good news for the security conscious among us. Before, physical authentication keys were limited to dongles like Yubikey or Google's own Titan Security Key.

Most of us are familiar with what Google's two-step authentication feature is all about, only that we don't really use it. It would also be nice if the company added support for other browsers in the near future. This should include most phones from 2017 and on.

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. Make sure your phone's Bluetooth is activated.

How to turn your Android phone into a physical security key?

Given that a user could lose their phone, Google recommends they register at least two security keys for their account.

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Then visit the 2-Step Verification website on your computer and choose 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.

Now the service is only available on Android devices and at this time it can only be used to login to Google services such as Gmail, G Suite and Google Cloud.

Two-step verification (2SV), a variant of two-factor authentication (2FA), is created to protect against attackers who know your username and password by requiring something else before the account can be accessed.

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