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Google says employees haven't been hacked since safeguarding accounts with physical keys

Google says employees haven't been hacked since safeguarding accounts with physical keys

This appears to be a reference to the fact that Google's systems can ask employees to present their keys in a number of contexts and not only when logging on to email when they start work.

A Google representative told Krebs on Security that security keys are used for all account access at the company.

Google is a enormous entity, with more than 85,000 employees scattered around the globe working in divisions from cloud to hardware and search.

Google told Business Insider that none of its employees have been successfully phished since it started requiring its employees to use security keys to log in. "It all depends on the sensitivity of the app and the risk of the user at that point in time".

The YubiKey is a relatively low-priced device, costing just £18 for the basic key.

In contrast, a Security Key implements a form of multi-factor authentication known as Universal 2nd Factor (U2F), which allows the user to complete the login process simply by inserting the USB device and pressing a button on the device.

Physical security keys, such as Yubico's YubiKey Security Key, have protected all Google employees from phishing attacks since early 2017.

If U2F tokens are such an effective way to boost security, why do so few people beyond Google use them?

Security Keys are cheap USB-based devices often costing less that $20, which require the user to log in to a Web site using something they know (the password) and something they have (e.g., a mobile device or USB key). Once the device is enrolled for a specific website that supports security keys, the user no longer has to enter a password at that site.

In addition to Google, many other high-profile sites including Facebook, GitHub, and Dropbox are supporting similar U2F processes, according to the report.

Currently, U2F is supported by Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

Physical security keys can safeguard users who have been "phished", or duped into disclosing their log-in credentials, by requiring more than just a username and password to access an account. Microsoft will reportedly update its Edge browser to support U2F later this year.

Apple has not yet said when or if it will support the standard in its Safari browser.

Until a U2F system is commonplace and supported by all sites, users can protect themselves from phishing attacks by following these 10 tips from TechRepublic's Brien Posey. Now there's a good chance that account will be hacked.

But he noted that they may create compatibility issues among some who already integrate custom security tools with their Google products.

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