Google Adds FIDO2 Compliance To Android For Password-Free Logins

The security of devices has never been more at the forefront of thought for many users as it is now. Hackers from around the world are targeting the devices that we use each day from smartphones to tablets to PCs. One of the ways that consumers can avoid being hacked is to choose passwords that are more complex and less likely to be guessed, or fail under a brute force attack. The problem is that most people can't remember a complex password and therefore use easier passwords. 

password screen

The FIDO Alliance is a consortium that is focused on open source authentication standards, and it is pushing to make secure login protocols more seamless than they are today. Google and FIDO have announced that Android is now certified to support the FIDO2 standard.

The certification means that most devices that are running Android 7.0 or higher will be able to handle logins without passwords on mobile browsers like Chrome. Android has already supported secure FIDO logins for apps that authenticate users via the smartphone's fingerprint scanner or a hardware dongle. FIDO2 support will let developers design websites to interact with the FIDO2 infrastructure opening the door to log into supported sites using the fingerprint reader on your device.

There are multiple ways for devs to integrate FIDO2 into products, but all methods require the user to participate during sign-in by using a dongle or scanning a fingerprint. Those methods would foil a hacker who might have the password but would be unable to produce the correct fingerprint, and unlikely to have access to the dongle. FIDO2 is supported by all major web browsers, except for Safari.

Apple has suggested it might support FIDO2 in the future, and iOS users could opt for Chrome on their iPhone. Support for the protocol will allow Android to accept secure logins via NFC and Bluetooth in addition to the dongles already mentioned. Google launched a hardware dongle last summer called the Titan Security Key that supports FIDO. Google figures that fingerprint authentication with the device's built-in scanner is the most accessible approach; fingerprint data is only stored locally on the device and isn't transferred notes the FIDO Alliance.