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Google Advanced Protection can now use Android, iPhones as security keys

Having a Google account can open up doors to not just Google’s own services but third-parties that use its single sign-on feature as well. That makes it even more tempting for hackers to compromise such an account and potentially pilfer critical and even risky personal information. Google’s Advanced Protection Program aims to harden Google accounts from such attempts and it is now making it dead easy to set up one as long as you have an Android phone or even an iPhone.

Google created this Advanced Protection Program or APP specifically for “high-risk” users for whom two-factor authentication just isn’t enough. These include journalists, activists, politicians, and even business leaders. Initially, APP’s stronger security measures required the use of a physical key, specifically a Titan security key but Google says it also introduced an unnecessary inconvenience.

Last year, Google started allowing phones to be used as security keys instead of a USB key. Naturally, it started with Android and is practically built into all modern phones running Android 7.0 Nougat or higher. Today, Google is announcing that even iPhones can be part of the APP too, presuming they’re running on Android 10 at least.

As reported earlier, any iPhone can now be enrolled in the Advanced Protection Program. They do need to install a Google Smart Lock app first, though. Both Android and iOS use Bluetooth to communicate with a PC or Mac signing into a Google Account. And yes, it only protects your Google Account, of course.

Google presents this new feature as a way to simplify APP and make it easier for anyone to take advantage of the added security. Given recent and upcoming events, it feels that Google accounts are prime targets for hacking. Of course, just like with a security key, this only works if you always have your phone with you and haven’t been stolen or lost as well.

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