Google Unveils New Security Protections For High-risk Users

James Marshall
October 17, 2017

The revamped Security Checkup guides you through the process of securing your Google account and everything associated with it - including settings to do with your mobile.

"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", the company said in a blog post. From our years of experience detecting phishing sites, Safe Browsing's insights can now enable us to make predictions about risks in real time.

When user types their Google account password into a suspected phishing site, Google will ensure their account isn't compromised. "For example, these might be campaign staffers preparing for an upcoming election, journalists who need to protect the confidentiality of their sources, or people in abusive relationships seeking safety". Google notes "extra steps", like additional reviews and request for more details, in place during the account recovery process.

The company didn't disclose how account recovery is structured, but an executive who was briefed by Google said it includes a period of time in which the account would remain locked while the user passes identity checks.

"The Advanced Protection Program will proactively add new security features to stay a step ahead of hackers".

Google account sign-in prompt on smartphone.

In practice, that also means, for instance, that users can't access their Gmail messages from Outlook, Thunderbird or the email client built into iPhones and iPads.

Google is rolling out a fancy new security feature today that's created to protect users who face significant risk of having their accounts hacked-election and campaign officials, victims of intimate partner violence, and others seeking additional security.

Now Google is deploying an advanced security system for those accounts most at risk of targeted attacks.

These advanced security are great for those who need them, but the move could also be a self-serving one for Google, which will gain the ability to deflect criticism of its more standard security features by suggesting that anyone who suffers breaches perhaps should have opted into Advanced Protection.

Another scheme in May that tricked Google Docs users into granting account access to a malicious web application might also have been stymied by the provision that prevents access by third-party software.

While Google refers to "two new protections", these are really updates rather than completely new offerings.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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