Google has launched a brand new method of logging onto a Gmail account from a public terminal that uses a QR code scanned by a smartphone in order to be able to do so more securely than entering a password into the computer.
The technique is comparable to the way that a device was set up by Google for a two-step authentication process, which has been available since 2011. This two-step login method once required the use of a unique short code that was generated by the mobile device, as well as a password, which would then allow access to the Google account.
Now, with the use of a QR code, the same result can be established by combining the use of a desktop computer’s browser and a smartphone, which acts as a type of proxy. Through the login on the smartphone, the desktop computer is then capable of logging into the Google account, without having to enter the password on that machine.
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This is expected to become a popular technique used by travelers who must regularly used public computers such as those from internet cafes, and will be handy for protecting them from computers that have been set up with keylogging software that can save all of the keystrokes that its users have made, revealing passwords and other personal information.
This service is to become available to iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone 7 devices, and a QR code reader will need to have been installed on the device in order to make it work with the on screen authentication system.