Apple users will soon be able to opt to log in to their Apple ID account by scanning a third-party physical NFC security key with their device as part of the service’s two-factor authentication process.
“This feature is designed for users who, often due to their public profile, face concerted threats to their online accounts, such as celebrities, journalists and members of government,” Apple says.
“For users who opt in, Security Keys strengthens Apple’s two-factor authentication by requiring a hardware security key as one of the two factors.
“This takes our two-factor authentication even further, preventing even an advanced attacker from obtaining a user’s second factor in a phishing scam.”
Users with a hardware security key that does not support NFC will also be able to use it for two-factor authentication by plugging it into their device.
Apple has added support for third-party security keys as one of three new security features that also include contact key verification for iMessage and advanced data protection for iCloud.
They offer users “powerful new tools to further protect their most sensitive data and communications” at a time when “threats to user data has become increasingly sophisticated and complex”, the tech giant says.