Amid the politically motivated cyber attacks, sophisticated, state-sponsored hackers targeting politicians worldwide, ongoing Russian hacking investigations and fallout from the massive Equifax breach, Google is is proposing a better, stronger, and old-school security solution for a select few.
The company is working on new security tools for Gmail, data that will block third-party apps, hacks and replace its two-factor authentication system with a pair of physical security keys — but it might not be available to everyone.
Especially designed for high-profile corporate executives, politicians and other high-profile figures, Google’s reported “Advanced Protection Program” will offer a number of additional features to these accounts.
The Gmail messages of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, were famously hacked last year, along with the databases of the Democratic National Committee. Podesta met with the House Intelligence Committee in June to discuss the hack.
Citing two people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that the Alphabet Inc. company will launch its Advanced Protection Plan next month. Whether it will also be available to ‘regular’ users is unclear.
“Over the past year, Google has refurbished its account security systems several times,” Bloomberg reported these new security features citing two people familiar with the company’s plans. “The upgrades come as the company pitches its Gmail and document apps to business clients.”
Replacing the two-factor authentication system with a pair of physical security keys is an important feature, but not the first time that Google will be marketing it. The device was first introduced in 2014 as a measure to improve security measures. Google introduced support for universal 2nd factor (U2F) USB security keys in 2014 (Facebook, Dropbox, and Salesforce also offer support). It improves security by requiring a dongle be inserted into a computer — along with a standard password — to access Google accounts such as Gmail. The method removes the need to type in codes from a phone and offers better protection from phishing sites.