You Can Now Use Your iPhone As Google Security Keys for Two-Factor Authentication

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In a step to improve account security, Google has updated its iOS app so that iPhones can be used as security keys for two-factor authentication. The search giant has also refreshed the app’s UI design with the update.

Google’s Smart Lock app for iOS has been updated so that it can act as a security key for logging into accounts that require two-factor authentication. This feature has been present on all Android smartphones and tablets that run Android 7.0 (or newer) and have access to Google Mobile Services.

With the updated app, iPhone users will be able to log into various Google services such as Chrome, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, and YouTube. Once you install the Smart Lock app on your iPhone and log into your Google account, the phone gets registered as a physical security key. Google is using Apple’s Secure Enclave feature, which is used to store Face ID, Touch ID, and other cryptographic data. The Secure Enclave feature is found on Apple’s A-series chipsets.

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As soon as you enter the password for any Google service on a device, you get a push notification on your iPhone which you can then check and approve. The registered phone needs to be within the vicinity of your computer (secure communication via Bluetooth), which is more secure than just using a login prompt.

Two-factor is not a foolproof method to duck from hacking attempts, but it is better than not having two-factor authentication at all. It is also better than using two-factor authentication codes received on your SIM card, especially in the wake of recent SIM swap attacks.

Our Take

Google has taken a huge step towards making it easier for iPhone users to log in to Google services securely using two-factor authentication keys. However, the company is not using iPhones’ built-in user authentication features such as Face ID or Touch ID. This means that a hacker can log in to your account if your iPhone is already unlocked.

We expect the internet search giant to add Face ID or Touch ID features into its recently updated Smart Lock app to make it even more secure.

[Via 9To5Google]