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Google Introduces Passkeys for Global Users to Enhance Security

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Google has announced the worldwide rollout of passkeys, a passwordless authentication tool for its Google Account users. The move comes almost a year after Google, Apple, Microsoft, and the FIDO Alliance declared their collaboration to make passwordless logins a reality across all devices, operating systems, and browsers.

While multifactor authentication mechanisms and password managers have been used to improve security for traditional username and password workflows, they have been subject to some security challenges. For instance, an authentication code sent via SMS can be intercepted, and third-party password management software can be a hassle.

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Passkeys offer users the ability to synchronize their authentication across all their devices using cryptographic key pairs. This allows them to sign in to websites and applications using their biometrics or screen-lock PIN. It makes it more difficult for malicious actors to access users’ accounts remotely since they require physical access to the device.

Google, like Apple and Microsoft, already supported FIDO’s passwordless sign-in standard. However, users were required to sign into each website or application with each device before they could use it. As part of the alliance, the companies set about implementing the standard across their systems, including browsers and operating systems. This means that someone can access their Google Account on a Windows laptop using a passkey from their iPhone.

Over the past year, the tech trio has slowly rolled out support for passkeys, with companies like PayPal, Shopify, Kayak, and DocuSign following suit. From today, Google Account users can also use passkeys to access their accounts. Passkeys are optional, and users can activate them by logging into their Google Accounts. Passwords and other existing multifactor authentication tools are still operational.

For the most part, passkeys improve security and eliminate the need for traditional passwords, which can be subject to breaches. Google’s introduction of passkeys highlights the company’s continued commitment to enhancing security and making authentication more secure for its users.

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