As a security all your online accounts now have a feature of two factor authentication so that your data’s privacy is upheld. With this feature no one can access to your account until a set of requirements are met like a password with a security key or even a passcode in the form of biometrics or face scan or iris scan.
Owner of an Android cell phone you can use your device to secure your Google account using what they call the two-Step Verification system. This can be considered a form of the two factor authentication method as mentioned above, since it requires two separate factors. The newly added functionality to their two-Step Verification system means you no longer have to carry around a separate security device to protect your account.
To use your Android mobile as a security key for logging into your Google account on your PC you need Android 7.0 Nougat or higher cell phone and work on Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS computer. Also you should have Google Chrome installed on your Android phone and computer before you get started.
Here’s Step by Step guide
As a first step you need to enable Bluetooth on your PC
If your computer did not come with Bluetooth functionality built-in, you can buy a Bluetooth dongle from Amazon for as little as $8, then simply plug it into a USB port on your computer to add Bluetooth functionality. To enable Bluetooth on a Windows 10 PC, go to the Start menu (click the Windows icon in the bottom-left corner), then click the Settings gear. Next, choose “Devices,” then make sure the toggle switch underneath “Bluetooth” is turned on.
- If you have Windows 8 PC then, move your mouse pointer to the lower-right corner and several icons will start to appear. Move your mouse upward to reveal then, then click “Settings.” Go to Change PC Settings > Wireless > Wireless Devices from here, then enable the Bluetooth toggle.
- If you’re on Mac, click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of any screen, then select “System Preferences.” From there, open the “Bluetooth” menu, then click the button labeled “Turn Bluetooth On.” If this button says “Turn Bluetooth Off” instead, then Bluetooth is already enabled and you don’t need to change anything.
- For Chrome OS users, just click the time in the bottom-right corner, then select “Bluetooth.” If the toggle is not turned on, enable it at this time.
Next enable Bluetooth and location on your Android Phone
Simply swipe down from the top of your phone’s screen to expand the Quick Settings menu, then tap the Bluetooth toggle to turn the feature on if it’s not already enabled. Also you can search your phone’s main Settings app for the word “Bluetooth,” then turn the toggle on from there.
Now go to your phone’s main Settings app and open the “Location” menu. If you don’t see this menu in the main Settings list, use the search feature at the top of the screen to type in “Location,” then tap the top result. From there, enable the toggle at the top of the page to ensure location services are turned on. This is required to ensure your phone is physically near your computer when you’re logging in.
Now add your Google Account to your Phone
Add your Google account to the phone you want to use as a security key. If you haven’t done so already or have multiple accounts you want to secure on a specific device, you can easily add them by going to Settings > Accounts > Add account > Google
The above location is where you can find everything you need for adding a new account to your device. Follow the on-screen instructions to sign in with one or more Google accounts, then you’re all set on this part of the process.
Then enroll in two-Step Verification
Now that you’ve got the Google account situation taken care of with a trusted Android phone of your choice, you’ll need to enroll your account in Google’s two step verification system. It’s a simple process that won’t take you very long to set up at all, and it’ll be worth the extra layer of security.
Go to the link Enroll in Two-Step Verification for Your Google Account and tap or click “Get Started.” Sign in with the same Google account you signed into on your phone, then follow the on-screen instructions and you’ll be on your way to protecting your account.
When done, leave the window open for your two factor authentication settings because you’ll need to jump back into them in the next step. You’ve now set up your trusted Android devices, and will then be notified on each device every time your account is signed into. On this notification, you could grant access if you recognize that it’s you signing in, or deny access to protect your account from a malicious login attempt.
You can create Backup Codes
Before you lock down your account by turning your phone into a physical security key, you should take some time to generate two step verification backup codes if you haven’t already. These act as a stand-in for your phone in the event it’s lost or stolen — in other words, you can enter one of these random sets of numbers in the sign-in prompt if your phone fails to unlock your account for any reason.
To do this, head to Google’s two step verificaiton settings page, click “Get Started” and sign in, then scroll down to the Set up alternative second step section and click the “Set Up” button beneath the “Backup codes” header. You’ll now be presented with a list of ten 8-digit codes. Copy these down and keep them somewhere safe.
Next add your Phone as a Security Key
Now that you’ve gotten your two factor authenticaton security system set in place on Android, you need to assign it a security key to use for signing in with your account on a computer.
To do this, you must open the Google Chrome web browser, then visit your two step verification account settings on Google.
Once there, scroll down to the Set up alternative second step section, then click “Add Security Key” to begin. Select the Android device you want to be used as a trusted source for securing your Google account on the next screen, then click “Add” and finish things up by clicking “Done.”
Unlock your Account with your Phone
Now you’ve locked down your Google account with a proper two factor authenticaton security system, test and find how it works on PC.
Sign out of your Google account in the Chrome web browser on the computer if you have to and try to sign back in with your login and password. After you enter your password, you’ll be presented with a new screen that asks you to “Check your phone.”
Make sure both the location and Bluetooth on your phone are enabled so it can check for the nearby device. Once it recognizes your trusted device, it’ll send you a prompt to that device. Tap “Yes” to confirm it’s you trying to sign into your account just now, then it will begin connecting to your computer for verification. Once it verifies that the sign in attempt is authentic, you’ll be signed into your account just like that!
Note that if you have a Google Pixel 3 or 3 XL Android, rather than tapping “Yes” to confirm your sign-in attempt, you can long-press the volume down button to do confirm it instead. This is because these phones have a Titan M security chip built right into them. By holding the volume down key, this triggers the chip to authenticate the login attempt for an extra layer of on-board security, and it also protects against potential malware apps that could “tap” the “Yes” button using software hacks.