Whether you’re a power-user or a casual web surfer, most people will agree that security is at or near the top of the list when it comes to computing. U2F or two-factor authentication is one of the ways to add another level of security to your device, applications and password-protected sites you visit.
Manufacturers like Yubico create USB devices for just this purpose. When enabled, a device or chosen login information are inaccessible without the second “layer” of protection. Other forms of this feature can include biometric verification similar to what is found on a growing number of mobile devices. A.K.A., fingerprint sensors.
With built-in U2F support, devices with fingerprint scanners can leverage biometric information to enhance security as well as offer password alternatives for your device. App makers, webmasters and even manufacturers of peripherals can then use the API of the sensor to allow users to utilize U2F options on their platform.
With fingerprint sensors and the increasing abilities of Chrome OS, it appears developers are looking to make U2F a baked-in feature for Chromebooks. Some very recent additions to the Chromium repository gives us a look at the work in progress.
Add U2F implementation
Add the common code to support FIDO U2F (Universal second factor authentication) protocol implementation
When fingerprint sensors finally make their way to Chrome OS this will allow users to access sites, devices and apps with just the swipe of a finger. It is also possible that other functions will be able to trigger two-factor verification. Possibly a keystroke combination or an extension that would perform the same function as the current, physical U2F keys.
Versatility, ease of use and enhanced security. These are all major factors in the success of an operating system and it looks like Google is working hard to make Chrome OS just that.
You can follow along with the development here at Chrome Unboxed. This is an exciting new feature and we look forward to seeing it flesh out.
Source: Chromium repository