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Google Adds Two-Factor Authentication for Its Apps on iOS

Android-based two-factor authentication now works for Google applications on iPad and iPhone.

Google now has extended its Android-based two-factor authentication to Google applications on iOS devices like iPads and iPhones.

The authentication app uses a certificate built into Android that responds to a challenge issued by a specific, enterprise-enabled website for authenticating both the user and website during login. Google apps or an account on the Google cloud presents a challenge screen to the user on their Android phone, asking them to verify it's really them logging into the account.

The company in May first introduced the Android-based 2FA mechanism for log-in to Google and Google Cloud services from ChromeOS, Windows 10, and MacOS devices. Now, it can also be used to protect login attempts from iPads and iPhones. 

Google's authentication is based on FIDO (Fast ID Online) security keys, which leverage public-key cryptography to verify both the user and login page URL, making it more difficult for an attacker who has stolen user credentials to abuse them.

Among the differences between the desktop environments and iOS systems is in the way the authentication appears to the user. To authenticate from a desktop, the user must launch a Chrome browser window to begin the login and initiate the 2FA process. In the iOS implementation, the Google Smart Lock app provides authentication for Google and Google Cloud applications.

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About the Author(s)

Curtis Franklin, Principal Analyst, Omdia

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Principal Analyst at Omdia, focusing on enterprise security management. Previously, he was senior editor of Dark Reading, editor of Light Reading's Security Now, and executive editor, technology, at InformationWeek, where he was also executive producer of InformationWeek's online radio and podcast episodes

Curtis has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. He has been on staff and contributed to technology-industry publications including BYTE, ComputerWorld, CEO, Enterprise Efficiency, ChannelWeb, Network Computing, InfoWorld, PCWorld, Dark Reading, and ITWorld.com on subjects ranging from mobile enterprise computing to enterprise security and wireless networking.

Curtis is the author of thousands of articles, the co-author of five books, and has been a frequent speaker at computer and networking industry conferences across North America and Europe. His most recent books, Cloud Computing: Technologies and Strategies of the Ubiquitous Data Center, and Securing the Cloud: Security Strategies for the Ubiquitous Data Center, with co-author Brian Chee, are published by Taylor and Francis.

When he's not writing, Curtis is a painter, photographer, cook, and multi-instrumentalist musician. He is active in running, amateur radio (KG4GWA), the MakerFX maker space in Orlando, FL, and is a certified Florida Master Naturalist.

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