How to use your phone as a 2FA security key


Many people use various online accounts for different purposes, such as gaming, online shopping, and social networking. Internet users must protect themselves from potential threats as cybersecurity risks rise. One security measure many online platforms offer is two-factor authentication (2FA). Hackers use various methods to steal user login credentials, such as usernames and passwords. 2FA is one-way users can protect their accounts and ensure hackers cannot access their sensitive data.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Here’s more information about the importance of 2FA and how you can use your phone as a security key.

What Is 2FA? Why Is It Important?

2FA is a security measure online users can implement that requires them to provide two different types of information, known as factors. A factor is essentially a way to convince a device or computer that you are the person you say you are. A simple username and password combination are two common examples.

2FA requires a password and some other form of authentication. This may include confirming your mobile number via SMS text or phone call, an auto-generated code, or a biometric verification like Touch ID or Face ID. Hackers typically cannot access your mobile phone, meaning they wouldn’t be able to use a confirmation code to log into your account.

Duo’s 2021 State of the Auth report found that 79% of respondents reported using 2FA, meaning it’s becoming more widely used. Whether Facebook or G-Suite, consider implementing 2FA for extra protection when setting up online accounts.

2FA is crucial in the fight against various types of scams and cybercrime. For example, the Pew Research Center research shows that 67% of adults older than 65 spend time online. With senior fraud scams increasing, it’s become even more critical for this population to use 2FA. However, anyone with an Android or iPhone should learn to use it as a 2FA security key.

How to Set up Your iPhone or Android as a 2FA Security Key

How to use your phone as a 2FA security key

Here are the steps you can take to set up 2FA with Google and Facebook.

Google Setup

Your first step in setting up your phone as a security key is to ensure your computer runs the latest version of Windows 10 or 11, iOS, macOS, or Chrome OS. Your phone software should also be running on the newest version.

Then, visit the Google Security tab on Chrome or another internet browser. From there, click on Use Your Phone to sign in. You’ll be prompted to enter your account password, choose a phone to use, verify you have Touch ID or screen lock, and add a recovery phone number.

Google will test that 2FA works and then ask you to turn the setting on permanently. Make sure your phone is nearby whenever you want to log in to Google services on your computer. You’ll need it to verify your login information.

Facebook Setup

It’s simple to set up 2FA on Facebook with your iPhone or Android device. First, log in to Facebook and visit the Security and Login tab. Scroll down to Two-Factor Authentication and click on Edit.

You can then choose one of the options under Edit and follow the instructions on-screen. You will select one of three methods:

  • Tap your security key on a compatible device
  • Text message (SMS) codes sent to your phone
  • Login codes from a different authentication app

Other online accounts may offer 2FA features, so visit your settings or privacy tabs to see what instructions you can follow.

Dealing With a New, Lost, Broken, or Stolen Phone Used for 2FA

You can continue using 2FA as usual if you purchase a new phone, but you may need to reconfirm your number. Now is an excellent time to write down your backup codes.

Using a third-party authentication app is helpful if you break or lose your Android or iPhone. Once you get a new device, you can redownload the third-party app and go through the 2FA process again.

It’s best to contact the company if you ever have trouble accessing an online account. Sending in a help request to describe your situation will allow representatives to find you a viable solution and enable you to log in.

Protect Your Accounts With 2FA

2FA adoption is growing, especially as cybersecurity is becoming a priority for businesses and individuals. Consider using 2FA to keep your accounts and data secure and out of the hands of malicious hackers.

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