Google Announces USB Security Key

Posted on: Thursday, October 19, 2017

This one is for those of you who are wary about online account security. Yesterday, Google announced a new and unique security feature for their email system.

Protection has increased over the years, ranging from increased password length and complexity, to multi-step verification, to the next big thing: a portable security key that users will need to carry around with them. The key will fit into the USB slot on computers, and login will not be completed without the key.

This has been dubbed the Advanced Protection Program, and Google says it strives to protect users from various threats. This could be as simple as a hacker or criminal stealing your login information, but also will help to avoid concerns such as phishing. Now, when you’ve forgotten your password, lost the key, or been locked out of your account, many extra security measures will be required to surpass to ensure identity. This could include “additional reviews and requests for more details” as per a Google blogpost on Wednesday.

You may be familiar with two-factor authentication, or 2FA, which requires an additional step users must complete after entering their password in order for them to access their account. The idea with the physical key will be the same, but instead of answering a security question such as ‘What was the name of your first pet?’ you will be directed to insert the key.

Who could benefit from this? For the most part, anyone who is interested in an added security feature who does not mind giving up some of the convenience that SMS text confirmation codes and the like can provide. According to one article, jobs that require and extended amount of security due to the large amount of confidential information they possess, such as an election campaign manager or a journalist could be key targets for the key.

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