The New Google Smart Lock app for iPhone
Given the number of leaked databases, it’s safe to say that the standard method of protecting online accounts (username and password) is not working.
All it takes is a well-targeted phishing attack and the security of your company or personal accounts is gone. In fact, phishing is one of the most efficient threats to the security of your accounts because attackers are well-versed and their methods are more and more sophisticated.
A phishing attack tricks users into giving sensitive information (such as usernames and passwords) by mimicking a page they trust. These attacks are usually performed via email, where the attacker redirects the user to a fake page, where they are asked to login. Once the user introduces their data, these are sent to the attacker, who can either use them to harm the user or their company/organization or leak them to other entities.
This is why most large online platforms (Google Workspace included) opt to add two-factor authentication (2FA) systems. This requires the user to verify their authenticity using an external device (usually a USB device or a smartphone) as a security key. If the verification fails, the password and username are useless as the system doesn’t grant access.
Using Smartphones for 2FA
One method of using your phone in the 2FA process is to ask the platform to send you an authentication code via SMS every time you perform a login. However, this can be annoying if you do it several times a day and quite costly since you are being charged for each SMS.
Luckily, Google came up with a new method that allows users to activate a security key on their phones. These keys use public-key cryptography and are built with FIDO standards, which makes them the strongest way of protection against automated bots, bulk phishing attacks, and targeted phishing attacks.
Still, there was a bit of an issue with these keys as, while the latest Android phones come with this functionality as a default setting, iPhone users didn’t have access to it. To rectify this, Google launched the new Smart Lock app which allows iPhone users to activate a security key to access their Google Workspace account.
As such, the Smart Lock app saves users from the ordeal of waiting for the authentication code to be sent via SMS and introducing it (manually) in their authentication process. With the app, the phone automatically becomes a security key and the verification happens almost instantly.
Lastly, to make things easier for you, we put together a comprehensive video on how to install and set the Google Smart Lock app on your iPhone, and you can see it here.