Facebook expands support for security keys on smartphones

Earlier available on the desktop version, Facebook has now expanded the support of physical security keys for two-factor authentication (2FA) on mobile devices.

Starting from Friday, the users can set up two-factor authentication and log into Facebook on iOS and Android mobile devices globally, including India, using a security key.

Facebook had allowed security key support for the desktop version since 2017.

“Since 2017, people on Facebook have been able to use physical security keys to log into their accounts on desktop to better protect their information from malicious hackers,” the3 social network said in a statement, adding that people can now set up 2FA on on iOS and Android mobile devices as well.

Two-factor authentication is a security feature that helps safeguard your account every time you log into your Facebook account from an unknown device by requiring something you know (your password) and something you have.

Typically, an SMS code is sent to your mobile phone or Authenticator app.

“It’s much harder for a bad actor to obtain both factors, which keep your password from being your last line of defense against phishing or other malicious attempts to compromise your information,” said the company.

Earlier this week, Twitter announced to let people use security keys as the only authentication method soon, adding that the micro-blogging platform will allow multiple security keys per account instead of just one.

Currently, Twitter users can use a security key to sign in and also need an authenticator app or SMS code as another 2FA (two-factor authentication) method.

Physical security keys which can be small enough to fit on your keychain notify you each time someone tries accessing your Facebook account from a browser or mobile device we don’t recognize.

“We ask you to confirm it’s you with your key, which attackers don’t have,” Facebook said.

High-risk users like politicians, public figures, journalists and human rights defenders need extra account protection.

“We strongly recommend that everyone considers using physical security keys to increase the security of their accounts, no matter what device they use,” Facebook said.

One can purchase security keys directly from companies that make them (Facebook doesn’t manufacture hardware keys).

The keys can either work through Bluetooth technology or by plugging it directly into your phone.

One can enroll security key in two-factor authentication within the Security and Login section in the settings, Facebook added.