Google announced on Wednesday (April 10) that any mobile phone that runs the Android 7 operating system (OS) or higher can be used as a security device.
According to The Verge, citing Google, with the Android 7 OS, the phone can be used for two-factor authentication (2FA), increasing the security when logging into Google Apps. With two-factor authentication, users need a dongle to verify a login. Google said this way is more secure than the other 2FA methods already provided by Google. That means users don’t have to purchase a dongle for two-factor authentication to verify a login.
The new feature works with Gmail, G Suite, Google Cloud and all other Google Account services. Using it can fight against unauthorized logins if someone gets ahold of a user’s password. The Verge noted that the solution uses the FIDO authentication standard, and that Google may include other websites in the future.
Since two-factor authentication can protect everyone, Google said reporters, business leaders, activists and political campaigns should use it, since they are at an increased risk of being targeted. With the 2020 U.S. elections coming soon, Google and other tech providers are seeing how they can increase security for users.
This isn’t the first time Google has made moves in recent months to beef up the security of its account. In the summer, it announced the overhaul of its privacy and security settings service — dubbed Google Account — to make it more secure and easier to use.
In a blog post at the time, Google said the overhaul included new features so users could more easily navigate their accounts, more prominently displayed security and privacy options, and detailed summaries of information associated with it, such as personal information, devices, payment methods, purchase subscriptions, reservations and contacts. Google also said that Google Account would show prominent notices if it detected something could be done to improve security, including, for example, suggesting the removal of one’s account from older devices.