Google has continued to work at upping its security game by starting their Advanced Protection Program. This program began just a few weeks ago, so you might not know much about it yet. The Advanced Protection Program is set up to make your Google account even more secure with several different features. The key feature most people are talking about, though, is its use of security keys, small devices that can be used to log in to a Google account.
Google’s new program is specifically targeted at people who are high-risk when it comes to their accounts being compromised. For instance, Google mentions “journalists, business leaders, and political campaign teams” on the program’s webpage. However, anyone can amp up their security with the program if they’re worried about their accounts.
Of course, if you’re not someone who feels at risk of being specifically targeted, the Advanced Protection Program may not be for you. It is specifically set up to prevent targeted attacks, so everyday people may not need to go to the trouble of joining the program, especially considering how much is involved with it.
The program consists of the following three core features: physical security keys, third-party blocking, and extra verification. The physical security keys must be used to log in to your Google account—this is intended to stop phishing attempts. One security key must be Bluetooth capable, while the other must be a USB key. Some of these keys can be fairly inexpensive, so if you do feel like you could be targeted by an online attack, it won’t necessarily be costly to do so.
The program’s third party blocking stops outside apps and software from gaining access to your Google account in any way. So if, for instance, an app need access to your Gmail account, it won’t work. You’ll need to use the dedicated Google apps for your different needs.
Extra verification comes into play if you need to sign in to your account but have forgotten your password and don’t have your keys on hand. Google will set up additional verification steps to tighten security in the event that you have otherwise lost the ability to log in. This is intended to stop people from breaking in to your account using the typical verification process—after going through the verification steps, access to the account won’t be granted for several days.
Again, if you’re not worried about being a specific target for online attacks, this new program might just be an unnecessary hassle. But if you do feel like you could be at risk of being targeted, or if you know someone who does, take a look at Google’s Advanced Protection Program page to see if it’s the best course of action. And if not, don’t forget about Google’s useful 2-Step Verification that can keep your account safe.