Google has recently updated its Advanced Protection Program for Google accounts to make it more accessible to users who are at a higher risk of targeted online attacks. This program is specifically designed for individuals such as political campaign workers and journalists who handle sensitive information that needs to be protected. Previously, users were required to have two physical security keys to activate the program, but now they can set it up with just a single passkey using the biometric authentication feature on their Pixel phone or iPhone.

Setting Up the Program

To enroll in the Advanced Protection Program, users can simply go to Google’s dedicated page for the program and click on “Get started.” The setup process will guide them through the necessary steps, including the option to choose between a passkey or a physical security key. Additionally, users are required to provide recovery methods such as their phone number and email address, or a second passkey, in case they are locked out of their account.

Passkeys offer a passwordless login method that allows users to securely sign in to their accounts, apps, and services using the built-in authentication features of their devices. This means that users no longer have to rely on traditional passwords, and can instead use their device’s fingerprint sensor, Face ID, or Windows Hello for authentication. The passkeys generated are stored by the website or service where the account is located, as well as on the user’s device for verification.

One concern with using passkeys is the possibility of losing or breaking the device where the passkey is stored. However, since passkeys can work across multiple devices, users may have a backup available on another device. Additionally, many services that support passkeys offer alternative methods of reauthentication, such as using a phone number, email address, or a hardware security key for verification.

Major password vaults like Apple’s and Google’s already support passkeys, as well as popular password managers such as 1Password and Dashlane. 1Password has even created an online directory listing services that allow users to sign in using a passkey, further expanding the accessibility and convenience of this authentication method.

Overall, Google’s update to the Advanced Protection Program marks a new era of security for users handling sensitive information online. The shift towards passkeys as a more secure and convenient authentication method highlights the importance of adapting to evolving security threats in the digital age. By making security measures more user-friendly and accessible, Google is empowering individuals to protect their accounts and data more effectively.


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