Google and FIDO Alliance (FIDO) have announced that Android is now certified to support the FIDO2 standard. With this news, any compatible device running Android 7.0+ is now FIDO2 Certified out of the box or after an automated Google Play Services update.
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.
“Google has long worked with the FIDO Alliance and W3C to standardise FIDO2 protocols, which give any application the ability to move beyond password authentication while offering protection against phishing attacks. Today’s announcement of FIDO2 certification for Android helps move this initiative forward, giving our partners and developers a standardised way to access secure keystores across devices, both in market already as well as forthcoming models, in order to build convenient biometric controls for users,” said Christiaan Brand, Product Manager, Google.
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.
FIDO2’s simple user experiences are backed by strong cryptographic security that is transparent to the user and protects against phishing, man-in-the-middle and attacks using stolen credentials. In addition to browser and platform support, several FIDO2 Certified products have been announced to support implementation.
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.