How to Set Up Passkey on Your Google Account

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Jeni_Odley
edited August 2023 in PC Tech

Passwords are used to log into user accounts and access personal information. They usually consist of a combination of random letters and numbers designed to differentiate users and ensure only specific people can access data. Passwords have existed since ancient times. For example, members of the Roman army would utter a so-called watchword to identify whether they were a friend or foe. Fast-forward to the digital era and the modern-day password was introduced by Fernando Corbató at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1960 to provide access to private documents.

In the recent digital age, we have passwords for just about everything. As hackers become increasingly prevalent and sophisticated, creating secure passwords is more important than ever. The average person has around 100 passwords for various purposes, presenting its own challenges as we try to balance data security with remembering login details for email and social media accounts, online banking accounts, and more. Experts estimate a staggering 100 passwords are stolen every second, totaling over 8 million each day. Hackers are relentless in their efforts to steal information, but what if there were a better way?  

What is a Passkey for Google accounts? 

Tech giant Google has recently introduced passkeys, a digital credential used to identify account holders. Passkeys allow users to access personal data using a QR code, PIN, pattern, or biometric sensors like facial recognition or a fingerprint. By using passkeys, users can authenticate their login details without physically entering any information. Passkeys are different from traditional passwords because they form part of a cryptographic pair. One-half of the pair links to a website and the other half is privately stored on a device, generating a secure code when users log into accounts.

Passkeys fulfill multi factor authentication requirements in one simple step and replace traditional passwords and OTPs like 6-digit SMS codes. Besides offering a safer alternative, passkeys improve the user experience by removing the need to physically type out a password each time we want to access information. Although this may seem insignificant, anybody that has repeatedly entered a wrong password while trying to hurriedly access an account will feel the benefit. 

What is passwordless login? 

Traditional passwords leave users vulnerable to a range of cyberattacks. To conquer this, more and more account providers are adopting passwordless login, allowing users to access information without typing a password or answering security questions. In addition, passwordless authentication may or may not be combined with multi-factor authentication for ultimate security.

Google passkeys make it easy to access account information using a fingerprint, facial recognition, screen lock pattern, QR code, or security key. Passkeys can be used across multiple platforms to access Google accounts and other apps or websites. During the transition to a passwordless future, Google will still allow users to access accounts with their password. 

How to set up and use a Google Passkey? 

Passkeys provide a more secure way to sign into a Google account. To create a Google passkey, users should open the web version on their Windows 10 or 11 PC. The PC must have a Bluetooth function and Chrome browser, and those using a smartphone or tablet should ensure they are close to their computer. Once these basics are fulfilled, users can set up Google Passkey using the following instructions:

  1. Click the account icon on the top right hand side of the Google Account page. 
  2. Once the Google Account page is open, click Security to display the current security details and account sign-in methods. 
  3. Click the Passkeys tab. 
  4. Manually enter the current account password to verify your identity. 
  5. Click Create a Passkey and then Continue. 
  6. Finish set up by verifying your desired sign in method, for example facial recognition.

Next time you log into your Google account, you will be asked whether you wish to manually enter a password or use Google Passkey. Selecting Google Passkey will bring up the facial recognition camera, fingerprint option, or security key input pad. 

What are the benefits of using Google Passkey? 

Passkey authentication uses advanced technology to protect users from potentially detrimental cyber attacks. Here are some benefits of using Google Passkey for maximum online security. 

1. Easy to remember 

Traditional passwords require users to manually enter a random sequence of letters and numbers — and remember them, too. Some websites even request that passwords include upper and lower case letters and special characters such as an exclamation mark. To make it more difficult for hackers to guess login credentials, users should also refrain from using the same password for multiple accounts. With a different password for each website or application login, it is easy to lose track of which password unlocks each account. Google Passkey eliminates this issue using unique biometric data such as facial recognition. With Google Passkey, you will never forget another password ever again.  

2. Secure access 

Security experts have been exploring ways to enhance password security for years, but creating a secure password ultimately depends on the user’s preference and memory. For convenience, up to 51% of web users reuse passwords, making them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Unlike passwords, passkeys are resistant to cyber attacks like phishing, and relying on unique biometric data like facial recognition or a fingerprint is more secure than interceptable SMS codes.  

As over 80% of data breaches stem from compromised passwords, finding a balance between security and storage is another headache for security experts. Rather than manually entering a Google account password when checking emails, users may choose to write it down or save it in a specified spreadsheet or browser. Intercepting a browser or compromising a computer could grant hackers unwarranted access to private accounts. Passkeys are generated automatically and strong enough to never be reused, making them difficult for hackers to guess. Moreover, passkeys are only stored on a user’s device and not in the Cloud or elsewhere, making interception by cybercriminals highly unlikely.  

3. User-friendly and convenient  

If you have ever been locked out of an account because of a forgotten or mistyped password, you will know how time-consuming and frustrating it is to restore account login information. The cumbersome but important password recovery process is necessary to protect personal data and unwanted login attempts.

Passkeys ensure security without frustration. Convenient and user-friendly, passkey login requires users to scan a fingerprint or their face without typing a long combination of characters or numbers. With passwordless authentication, users can access their accounts and data on the go without fearing the dreaded forgotten password button. 

Conclusion 

Cybercriminals are adopting increasingly sophisticated phishing techniques, and password security has never been more important. As cybersecurity technology advances, traditional manually entered passwords may soon be a thing of the past. Passkeys use biometric data such as facial recognition or a fingerprint to access accounts, enhancing security and reducing the likelihood of password theft. Passkeys remove the need to type multiple passwords from memory, relying instead on unique biometrics, a QR code, or a PIN that is never saved on the Cloud or in a spreadsheet. Moreover, passkeys are automatically generated and never reused, making them virtually unguessable by hackers. As we enter a new generation of password protection, tech experts like Google are providing helpful ways to enhance online security and keep our valuable passwords away from malicious cybercriminals.

Jeni is a translator and writer based in Taiwan. She is passionate about business development and loves helping companies enter international markets. She is fluent in English, German, and Mandarin Chinese, and combines these with her industry experience to provide practical market entry solutions.

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