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October 27, 2014

Google – USB key strengthens online security

Fido_logoWe all want better security for our devices, no more so when it comes to Laptops and Desktop PC’s. Google’s two-step verification is one of the safest methods of logging into your Google Account. When you use Google’s  two-step verification, logging into your Google Account from a new device, this asked for a verification code from your phone on top of your password, making it impossible for hackers to log into your account from an unfamiliar device unless they had your smartphone as well. Now they have added an extra layer of security in the form of a physical USB stick.

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How does it work

The Security Key works by verifying whether the login site you’re using an authentic Google website rather than a fake one pretending to be Google. Instead of typing in a code, all you need to do is insert the Security Key into your laptop or PC’s USB port and tap it when prompted in Chrome. This will prevent your cryptographic signature from being phished, according to Google, but will only work when you log into your Google Account using Chrome. Nishit Shah, Product Manager of Google Security said:

“Security Key and Chrome incorporate the open Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) protocol from the FIDO Alliance, so other websites with account login systems can get FIDO U2F working in Chrome today. It’s our hope that other browsers will add FIDO U2F support, too. As more sites and browsers come on-board, security-sensitive users can carry a single Security Key that works everywhere FIDO U2F is supported.”

Doesn’t cost the earth:

Security Key doesn’t come free, though, as you’ll need to buy a compatible USB device directly from a U2F participating vendor, says Google. So far, Google has only listed keys available on Amazon in the US, but the cheapest one available is $17.99 to $50 both from Yubico. However looking on Amazon UK (FIDO U2F Security Key) is on the link below at a cost of £4.99

How do I get a Security Key?

You can use any device compliant with the open standard called “FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F)”. Look for this logo .The one on Amazon UK (FIDO U2F Security Key) is on the link below ar a cost of £4.99 BT_amazon_UK_150 Google Security Support

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Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini