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Google introduces Passkeys to high-risk users in Enhanced Protection Program.

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Introducing Passcodes: Google’s Latest Security Feature

Passcodes are the new cutting-edge security measure introduced by Google as part of their Enhanced Protection Program. These passcodes are a modern and secure alternative to traditional passwords, boasting a faster sign-in time of up to 50%. Built on FIDO Authentication, passcodes offer a robust defense against phishing attempts, such as fraudulent emails. Users can seamlessly authenticate themselves using methods like fingerprint scans, facial recognition, or a pin code. Google began the gradual rollout of passcodes last year, automatically enhancing users’ account security. The key benefits of passcodes include:

  • Variety: Passcodes can be generated on personal devices like smartphones, laptops, and modern physical security keys. They are primarily designed for password-free usage but can also be configured to work in conjunction with a password if preferred.
  • Efficiency: Passcodes offer greater convenience compared to traditional passwords as users no longer need to memorize or repeatedly input them during sign-ins.
  • Safety: Passcodes surpass the security levels of conventional passwords and older forms of multi-factor authentication by being closely tied to the user’s device, thus eliminating server vulnerability and susceptibility to phishing attacks.

Utilizing Passcodes in the Enhanced Protection Program

The Enhanced Protection Program (EPP) historically required users to possess two physical security keys for enrollment. This process mandated the use of a password alongside one of the security keys for logging in. However, recognizing that access to physical security keys may not always be feasible for certain categories of users like journalists in conflict zones or traveling professionals, Google has introduced passcodes. This initiative grants high-risk users the flexibility to leverage the security and ease of their existing personal devices for phishing-resistant authentication. For further details on how passcodes align with security keys, visit Google’s Security blog.

Enrollment Process for EPP with Passcodes

Prior to enrolling in the Advanced Protection Program using passcodes, users must confirm their device and browser compatibility. Once the compatibility check is complete, users can proceed with the following steps:

  1. Access the Advanced Protection Program enrollment page
  2. Initiate enrollment by clicking “Get started”
  3. Follow the on-screen guidelines to finalize the enrollment process, choosing between passcodes or a physical security key

During enrollment, users will be prompted to add recovery options such as a phone number, email address, an additional passcode, or security key. This combination of recovery methods ensures continued access to the account in case of a lockout.

Strengthening Global Security Partnerships

Google has recently partnered with Internews to extend safety and security assistance to journalists and human rights advocates globally. Through Internews’ network of security professionals and trainers in 10 countries across Asia, Latin America, and Europe, this program aims to provide comprehensive support. This collaboration supplements Google’s existing efforts to make essential online safety tools like the Advanced Protection Program and Project Shield more accessible to high-risk individuals. To date, Google’s partnership network has distributed over 200,000 complimentary security keys worldwide and delivered security training in 20 countries spanning Asia, Europe, and North America. Furthermore, engagements with organizations such as Defending Digital Campaigns, IFES, Possible, and Asia Centre have further expanded Google’s security outreach initiatives.

[Source: Read more on Google’s Passcodes]

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