Keeping your critical data secure is extremely difficult these days. Ransomware attacks, phishing scams and data breaches like the one at Equifax are popping up all the time.
That's why you need to know about Google's new security feature. It could be just what you need to keep your information safe.
How Google's Advanced Protection Program works
We're talking about a new system by Google designed to protect users from targeted online attacks. It's called the Advanced Protection Program (APP).
APP focuses on protecting your Google tools like Gmail, Google Drive and YouTube: First, it uses a physical Security Key to protect against phishing attacks. Then, your emails and files are safeguarded by limiting access from non-Google services. Finally, it blocks fraudulent account access with extra steps to verify that it's you.
Google said in a blog post, "Advanced Protection provides Google's strongest security, designed for those who are at an elevated risk of attack and are willing to trade off a bit of convenience for more protection of their personal Google Accounts. Once you enroll in APP, we'll continually update the security of your account to meet emerging threats--meaning Advanced Protection will always use the strongest defenses that Google has to offer."
Let's take a closer look at APP's protection:
Phishing is one of the most common techniques hackers use to gain access to your account or critical data. Phishing emails or fraudulent login pages could trick you into handing over critical data like your passwords.
For the strongest defense against phishing attacks, APP goes beyond traditional two-step verification. You will need to sign into your account with a password and a physical Security Key. Other authentication factors, like codes sent via text or the Google Authenticator app, will no longer work.
Limited data access to trusted apps
When you sign up for new apps or services, you are sometimes asked for access to your data. By giving permission, you might introduce vulnerabilities that could be used to access your personal data. For example, an app you trust could be exploited or impersonated.
To protect you from this, APP will automatically limit third-party apps from accessing your most sensitive information, including your emails and Drive files. This extra security means:
- Accessing Gmail and Drive - Third-party apps that want access to Gmail or Drive will no longer have permission. For secure access, you will need to use the Gmail app or Inbox by Gmail.
- Google services on the web - You will only be able to use the Chrome browser to access signed-in services like Gmail or Photos.
- iOS support - Apple Mail, Contacts, and Calendar apps do not currently support Security Keys and will not be able to access your Google data. Instead, you can use the Gmail, Inbox, or Google calendar apps on iOS.
Block fraudulent account access
Another common way for hackers to gain access to your account is by impersonating you and pretending they're locked out.
To provide you with the strongest safeguards against this type of fraudulent account access, APP adds extra steps to verify your identity. If you ever lose access to your account and both of your Security Keys, these added verification requirements will take a few days to restore access to your account.
Anyone who has a personal Gmail account is eligible to sign up for APP today. You'll need to purchase your two Security Keys, register them, and enroll in the program. Once your Security Keys arrive, you can enable the Advanced Protection feature.
Click here for more information on Security Keys and enrolling in APP.
Speaking of securing your critical data, here's one essential step to prevent identity theft
Identity thieves can start charging your credit cards with unauthorized purchases or open new credit lines under your name. Even worse, you may not realize what's happening until the collection agencies start calling. If you suspect your private information has been compromised, you must take this step to stop criminals from running off with your identity.