Google prompt will now be the default authentication option for G Suite users once they set up two-step verification, providing consumers with an easier and more secure way to protect their accounts. The Mountain View-based search giant first released the verification method last July, and since then, the company has been inviting users who have previously enabled two-step verification to try it out. The feature uses other devices with already active accounts on which users can verify their identities with a single tap. This method is designed to be more reliable than using SMS for verification, as hackers can simply route text messages containing sensitive information to their computers by taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of the SS7 signaling protocol, whereas Google's new solution requires physical access to a device.
The decision to make Google prompt the first choice for users will only affect people who will set up two-step verification for the first time. Other users who have previously set up their preferred verification method will not see any changes in their settings. In order to use the feature, the handset obviously must be connected to the internet and for those using iOS devices, the Google app should be installed beforehand. Google Play Services should also be updated to a version that supports the feature. Those with Google Enterprise accounts have the option to use security keys instead. In case that the user has no mobile devices that can support this feature, they will be asked to use SMS for verification instead, although people may also choose to utilize either the Google Authenticator app or backup codes.
To add another layer of security, the company recommends that people set up a screen lock and only use this feature on devices that they regularly have on them. There are select cases when the Google prompt may ask the user to follow additional instructions before they're able to log in, like entering a number seen on a computer into a smartphone. The feature is now rolling out to all users and will be set as the default one on a worldwide level within the next 15 days, Google said.