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Just Tap "Yes" to Log In: Google Updates 2-Step Verification

Google is rolling out new 2-Step Verification (2SV) functionality, to make easier for users with the additional security feature enabled to log into their accounts.

The safety of user accounts has been a concern to many online services since almost forever, but recently publicized high-profile data breaches have revealed that organizations often fail to properly secure users’ sensitive information. Thus, both the strongest and weakest passwords that users might choose for their accounts could end up in leaked data, resulting in account compromise.

One of the solutions that many companies have adopted is two-factor authentication (2FA), which usually involves receiving an authentication code on the phone via SMS, but which has been deemed flawed as well. With 2FA, even if an attacker manages to grab the account login information (usually username and password), they wouldn’t be able to access the account, as they would lack the code that is automatically sent for the second step of the login process.

Google is one of the Internet giants to have had 2-Step Verification (2SV) enabled for its services for a long time, and the company is now making it even easier for users to log into their accounts using their mobile devices. Receiving a code via SMS usually means that users need to enter that code on a login page, but Google’s latest update eliminates this small inconvenience.

Now, users can approve sign-in requests via 2SV by simply taping a “Yes” button on their smartphone. According to Google, the new feature is now available for Google Apps customers, albeit admins would need to inform their employees of its availability.

“There are multiple ways your end users can approve sign-in requests via 2SV—by tapping a Security Key, by entering a verification code sent to their phone or, starting today, by approving a prompt […] that will pop up on their phone,” Google explains.

To enable the option they consider best suited for their needs, employees need to head to My Account, where they should access the Sign-in & Security > Signing in to Google > 2-Step Verification section, Google explains. Unfortunately, only one security option can be enabled for each account for the time being: “Currently, you can't have Security Keys and Google prompt enabled at the same time,” Google says.

As one might expect, the use of Google prompt requires a data connection. The login option is available for both Android and iOS users, the company says. To enjoy it, Android users need to update the Google Play Services on their devices, while iOS users need to have the Google Search app installed. Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release, the new security feature is expected to reach all users in a couple of days.

Earlier this year, Yahoo announced that its Android and iOS users can log into multiple mobile applications without having to enter their passwords, courtesy of a sign-in process dubbed Yahoo! Account Key, which debuted last year.

Related: Microsoft May Ban Your Favorite Password

Related: Is Yahoo's New Account Key the Future of Authentication?

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