You store a lot of personal information in your Google Account - bank account balances, email addresses and phone numbers, pictures of your face, the faces of your friends and family. If you want to protect this sensitive data with the highest level of security you can have, consider Google Advanced Protection. This program makes it almost impossible for anyone other than you to access gmail, Google Drive, Google Photos, or other Google services.
You have reason to worry about your personal information - the researchers reported 5.183 data breaches in 2019 alone. And although you may not have the profile of a target like him Jeff Bezos, it's not particularly reassuring that even the CEO of one of the largest tech companies on earth has attacked his cellphone.
Whether you're ready to add the maximum level of security to your Google Account, or just curious about how the high-security program works, here's everything you need to know about Google's advanced security program and how it can protect your data.
How the program protects your account
Google's advanced protection program protects your personal data by requiring a physical security key similar to the one you use to start a car. You do not need to connect it to your phone, laptop or desktop, but you should have it with you every time you access your account.
One of the common denominators among most data breaches is that attacks are carried out remotely over the Internet. This is why physical security keys are an effective defense against online hackers. Even if a fraudster steals your username and password, it can't get into your account without this physical key.
There are, however, some issues
Once you sign up for Google's advanced protection program, its services will be a little harder to access, both for you and for most third-party applications related to Google YouTube, Gmail, Google Drive and more
The tech giant's apps will still work, as will some non-Google apps such as Apple's mail, calendar and communication apps for iOS, as well as Mozilla's email client Thunderbird. Travel tracking apps or apps that consolidate your online shopping with Gmail scanning for receipts, however, will no longer work. Also, all Google services accessed through your mobile or desktop browser will now only work with Chrome or Firefox.
In addition to these hurdles, if you lose both your backup and backup key at the same time, the process of restoring access to your Google Account will take several days, as Google will take additional steps to verify your identity before unlocking it. This is because hackers sometimes contact companies like Google that pretend to be you, in the hope of getting your password and taking over your account.
The keys will cost dearly, but there is no monthly fee
The first thing you need to do is set up two backup keys - although you will only need one at a time to access your account, Google wants to make sure you have a backup in case you lose it. You can use the smartphone or the tablet as keys if they have Bluetooth, but Google also sells the Titan security keys package in the Google Store if you prefer to use something different from the devices you currently have.
Titan security keys are released in Google's firmware, and thanks to a recent hardware update, the Titan USB key now matches USB-C ports like those on all modern MacBooks, including the recent 16-inch MacBook Pro and Chromebook. It also includes adapters so you can use it with USB-A and Micro-USB ports.
Enter your keys and sign up for the program
Once you've resolved the keys issue, redirect to your Google Account to register and sign up for the program. Keep in mind that from now on you will have to use it Chrome or Firefox - you will not be able to access Gmail, Google Docs, or other Google services with Safari, Internet Explorer, or other browsers.
While you are in your account settings, it may be a good idea to set up other ways in which Google can verify that you are. This will both enhance the security of your account and make it easier for you to restore your account if you ever lose both security keys.
It works with G-Suite accounts as well
Many schools, universities and employers use it Enterprise G-Suite Google to provide email addresses, cloud storage, and other features and benefits for students, educators, and employees. For the advanced protection program, Google started supporting G-Suite customers last summer, but you may need to contact your supervisor or your system administrator.
Google's Advanced Protection Program is still evolving
G-Suite compatibility is not the only new enhancement to the advanced protection program, as Google recently expanded the scope of the program to include protection against Chrome-targeted viruses as well. This is a welcome feature, as Chrome already has a very bad reputation when it comes to protecting your privacy.