With the multitude of services that they offer (as well as the more frequent news of all of the hacking going on), it cames as little-to-no surprise that Google is a huge proponent of online security. With that, it’s also no surprise that the once-only-search engine is rolling out support for a new way to prove your identity: a USB Security Key. Google’s current approach to online security is the common two-step authorization method (WHICH YOU SHOULD BE USING), involving getting a text on your phone to verify your identity. However, that method may not be always ideal; if your phone’s battery dies or if you’re abroad and want to avoid roaming charges, you’re kind of up a creek without a paddle. Sooooo, having a dedicated and secure USB security key around means you’ll can log into Google’s ecosystem of programs and apps without worrying about phishing or having your phone ready.
As with most things, there are some caveats. First, you have to be a Chrome user (DUH), for one. Second, you can’t turn any spare thumb drive you own into a security key — it has to support the FIDO authentication standard. Fortunately, there are quite a few positives to this initiate Google is offering. One, other sites and services can choose to use FIDO authentication, and there are currently other big name companies and services like Microsoft, Alibaba and PayPal that have joined in to support it. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge with the Google USB security key, you can go ahead and buy your own compatible USB drive for under $20, so there’s little-to-no excuse for not keeping your digital world on secure lockdown. You can’t be TOO careful, now.
[Thanks, umm, Google]