Google is now using Chrome as an added security layer for account sign-ins

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Google is now using Chrome as an added security layer for account sign-ins
Google Chrome on Android could work as a 2FA security key.Unsplash
  • Google could use Chrome as a new security key for account sign-in attempts.
  • The process of Chrome as a security key is similar to phone security keys for Android devices.
  • Google is currently testing this for the Android beta app.
Google is testing the Chrome app on Android as a security key for sign-in attempts. Google is basically turning Chrome into another two-factor authentication (2FA) security key that appears when you are trying to sign in your Google account into a new device.

Google offers various options for 2FA or 2-Step Verification (2SV) such as physical security keys, verification codes through text messages, and sign-in prompts. This helps in situations when someone else might be trying to sign in to your Google account.

According to a report by 9to5Google, the Chrome beta app on Android was spotted working as a security key for 2FA sign-ins. The 2FA or 2-Step Verification process for Google Chrome works the same way as using Android phones as security keys. Google introduced this feature back in 2019, and it lets users set up their Android phones as physical security keys. When a Google account sign-in attempt happens, you have to hold the volume button down to confirm. This is different from the Google sign-in prompts as this feature uses Bluetooth to determine the nearby device.

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Google shows the same sign-in prompt that appears for phone security keys, and you have to approve by holding the power button down, according to the report. The sign-in attempt also carries the message, “Someone is trying to sign in to your account from a nearby device.” Once you confirm, a new “Connecting to your device” page will appear which is also similar to the phone security key process.

The report added that the recent apps menu showed this screen from the Chrome app and not Google Play services. It also found that Google is using caBLE (cloud-assisted Bluetooth Low Energy) for this 2FA method.

Although similar, the report notes that you have to manually set up your Android phone as a physical security key. Using Chrome as a 2FA security key may not require this manual setting up at all. You would still need to sign into the same Google account and have Chrome Sync enabled for this feature to work. This feature is currently available in Chrome 93 beta on Android.

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