Google is making a huge change to how your accounts are secured

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Google has revealed plans to help millions of users worldwide secure their accounts through upgraded security practices.

The search giant says it will enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for an additional 150m users by the end of the year.

While Google has begun to automatically configure its users' accounts to use 2FA, by the end of 2021 the company plans to auto-enroll an additional 150m Google users and require two million YouTube creators to turn it on.

Keeping all of your online accounts and their passwords secure can be difficult especially if you're not using a password manager (opens in new tab)

The search giant says it checks the security of 1 billion passwords each day to protect the accounts of its users from being hacked. One of the ways that Google does this is through its password manager which is built directly into Chrome (opens in new tab), Android and the Google App. 

Not only does the company's password manager use the latest security technology to keep your passwords safe across all of the sites and apps you use, it also contains a password generator (opens in new tab) that makes it easier to create strong, unique passwords on all of your devices.

While Google's password manager offers improved protection on Android smartphones (opens in new tab), iPhone users can select Chrome to autofill saved passwords in other apps in iOS (opens in new tab). However, the company is planning to roll out an update that will allow iPhone users to take advantage of Chrome's strong password generation feature for any iOS app in a similar way to how Autofill with Google (opens in new tab) works on Android.

Auto-enrolling users in 2FA

Although using strong and unique passwords can help protect your online accounts, having a second form of authentication dramatically decreases an attacker's chances of gaining access to them. For years now, Google has been innovating in two-step verification (2SV (opens in new tab)) which is quite similar to 2FA.

However, 2SV is the strongest when it combines “something you know” like a password with “something you have” such as your smartphone or a security key (opens in new tab). In fact, Google was even able to fight off phishing attacks (opens in new tab) by having its own employees use 2SV with their accounts.

After announcing its plans to make 2FA mandatory (opens in new tab) to commemorate World Password Day back in May, the company has provided further details on its plan to enroll even more users in a new blog post (opens in new tab)

The search giant is aware that today's 2FA options aren't suitable for everyone which is why its working on technologies to provide a convenient, secure authentication experience and reduce the reliance on passwords in the long-term.

Google is currently auto-enrolling Google accounts that have the proper backup mechanisms in place to make a seamless transition to 2FA and interested users can take the company's Security Checkup (opens in new tab) to see if their account already has the right settings in place.

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.