Google has thrown its weight behind an alternative way to use its 2-step Verification system – Security Key.
The company has, for some time now, been encouraging use of the 2-step Verification process to keep your Google account secure.
It involves setting up a second stage of security when logging in from a new device. Google 2-step Verification pushes a random code to your smartphone to be used in addition to your fixed password.
The reasoning here is that hackers and other virtual ne'er-do-wells typically operate from afar, so having a locally operated phase to the authentication process increases security significantly.
Now there's a new way to carry out this physical authentication process. Security Key is a tiny key fob that can be inserted into your computer's USB port for authentication purposes, and Google now supports it.
"Rather than typing a code, just insert Security Key into your computer’s USB port and tap it when prompted in Chrome," explains a recent Google blog post on the subject. "When you sign into your Google Account using Chrome and Security Key, you can be sure that the cryptographic signature cannot be phished."
Security Key works with Google accounts free of charge, but obviously you'll need to purchase a USB device that supports the U2F security standard used (such as the one pictured, taken from Amazon).
Google is trying to encourage more browsers and websites with login systems to adopt the FIDO U2F standard, so that one Security Key device can act to secure more of the web.
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