Google Unveils Physical Second Authentication Factor for Chrome

Oct. 23, 2014

Google Unveils Physical Second Authentication Factor for Chrome Google on Monday became the first Web browser to implement support for authentication standards developed by the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance. Google will now offer a stronger two-step verification system that employs a physical USB device as the second factor, making passwords unnecessary for users that take advantage of the new authentication method.

Instead of a password, users insert a Security Key into a computer’s USB port and tap it when prompted in the Google Chrome browser. The Security Key will only provide its cryptographic signature when it is being used on an authentic Google sign-in page. For fake Websites that are attempting to phish for information, the Security Key will not work. Security Key and Chrome incorporate the open FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) protocol, so other Websites with account login systems can now build support for FIDO U2F into their web applications and instantly enable this experience for their users who run Chrome.  

“With today’s announcement of FIDO U2F authentication by Google, there is no doubt that a new era has arrived,” said Michael Barrett, president of the FIDO Alliance. “We are starting to move users and providers alike beyond single-factor passwords to more secure, private, easy-to-use FIDO authentication.”