Google has recently added a new feature which will enhance account security to a greater extent.People who have been using 2-Step Verification earlier required a mobile device to get a 6 digit code from google each time to login into their accounts.Now,this has already boosted the security and prevented unauthorized access from hackers to a greater extent but still it has many limitations.
Google added this new feature to overcome many limitations of the 2-step verification process using mobile phones.
Google says “With 2-Step Verification, Google requires something you know (your password) and something you have (like your phone) to sign in. Google sends a verification code to your phone when you try to sign in to confirm it’s you. However, sophisticated attackers could set up lookalike sites that ask you to provide your verification codes to them, instead of Google. Security Key offers better protection against this kind of attack, because it uses cryptography instead of verification codes and automatically works only with the website it’s supposed to work with.”
What is Google USB security key ?
Google security key is physical hardware USB device which ensures two factor authentication to your Google account.It uses open standard application FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) which when plugged into the usb port does the work of entering 6 digit 2-factor authentication code which google used to send via phone message.
It enhances google account security to a extent that unless the physical key is stolen,it is very difficult for anyone to hack a google account.The key does not require any battery for it’s operation and is small and easy to use. Users who would opt for this USB key would have to order a physical key which would cost less than $20 and that too it is only one time cost.Also you can have it in bunch on your house or driving vehicle keys etc.So chances for forgetting the key is very less.
You can save your computer so that every time you need not have to plug the security key on your personal computer.
Who should use USB security key ?
Anyone who is more concerned about his or her google account’s security can use it.But for normal users it is not required as 2-step verification using mobile phones is sufficient and more than enough.
But I would strongly recommend for users using Google Apps for Work, using credit card and having Google wallet for merchants or anything related to confidential information,business related stuff etc to use it.It will make their accounts much secure and your account will not be hacked by hackers unless your physical key gets stolen or is misplaced by you yourself.
Bonus Tip:- If you are using google services like Google helpouts for providers, Adsense, Adwords, Google Domains or any google services which is very much important for you and generates revenue for you should use it.Also google accounts which has credit card information stored etc are very much recommended to use.
Requirements for using Security Key:-
To use Security Key, you’ll need a computer running on Chrome OS, Windows, Mac OS, or Linux with Chrome browser.You’ll still be able to use a verification code the way you normally do on any device that doesn’t support Security Key.
How to add security key to your Google Account ?
You can add USB key to your google account from here
Limitations of USB Security Key:-
- You need to purchase this physical key.Hence you have to pay for it.
- This key only works with chrome browser.
- It is very much necessary to carry this key along with you every time in order to log in into your google account from other computers.
- Currently mostly available on Amazon US and hence would be shipped in US region only.Would require some more time to become available worldwide.
I would highly recommend all the users who have critical information stored in their google accounts, confidential information, credit card related transactions or business related stuff in their gmail or google docs etc to use Google USB security key in order to keep their accounts safe from unauthorized access.