Google announced today that they plan on auto-enrolling 150 million accounts into two-factor authentication by the end of 2021.
To protect Google accounts from unauthorized access, it is possible to enroll in an optional security feature called two-factor authentication, or as Google likes to call it, 2-step verification (2SV).
When 2SV is enabled on a Google Account, and someone logs in with the correct username and password, they are asked for an additional form of authentication to prove they are the account owner.
This additional verification can be through a code from an authenticator app or SMS text, Google Prompt, a hardware security key, like a Yubikey or Google Titan, or even an iOS device.
In May, Google announced that it had started automatically enrolling users into 2SV for properly configured accounts to protect against exposed credentials from data breaches or the use of easy passwords.
For an account to be auto-enrolled, it would need to have a Google app installed that could be used for authentication or a backup mobile device for account recovery.
150 million users to be auto-enrolled into 2SV
Today, Google has announced that they will be automatically enrolling 150 million additional Google Accounts into 2SV by the end of the year.
“And because we know the best way to keep our users safe is to turn on our security protections by default, we have started to automatically configure our users’ accounts into a more secure state,” explained Google in a new blog post.
Google says that these additional accounts will only be enrolled if they have the “proper backup mechanisms” in place to transition to 2SV.
For those unable to enroll in 2SV due to available authentication methods, Google is working on other technologies that these users can use.
To check if your account has the correct settings for 2SV, you can perform a Security Checkup on your Google Account, which will explain your available options.
As 2-factor authentication is such an important method of securing online accounts and data breaches that frequently expose credentials, it is strongly advised that users enroll now in 2SV rather than waiting.
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