Titan Security Key — Google’s New Two-Factor Authentication

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Google’s new Titan Security Key was unveiled in early August 2018. It’s currently limited to Google Cloud customers but will soon become available to everyone via the regular Google Store. Like Yubico’s Yubikey, Google’s Titan provides an alternative to SMS two-factor authentication. Universal 2nd Factor authentication (U2F) relies on cryptography and is much less susceptible to coordinated phishing attacks than SMS. In the past, Google has praised Yubikey’s technology, claiming that it’s kept more than 85,000 employee accounts safe since 2017. Unlike Yubikey, the new Titan comes with both Bluetooth and USB technology, offering users more choice and versatility.

UF2 Keys — Universal Two-Factor Authentication

Traditional two-factor authentication relies on a one-time code being sent to another device via email or SMS. This code can be vulnerable to interception while it is in transition or if hackers gain access to your mobile phone. Yubikey and Titan, on the other hand, are hardware devices that use a cryptographic key to verify the identity of a log-in. Once the key is registered, it doesn’t change. Since it is ‘bound to the origin’ there is no chance a fake site would be able to simulate the authentication process, even if the user thought it was real. An unlimited number of accounts can be connected to the device and protected with the same cryptographic protocol. U2F keys can protect against many types of malware and man-in-the-middle attacks; they are also very important for high-profile individuals who may be the subject of targeted attacks.

More Choices for the Public

Yubico is currently the leader in a growing market of U2F providers. Yubikey technology was developed in collaboration with Google, one of its most notable advocates. Google has called U2F technology the strongest, most phishing resistant solution for high-value users. Google claims it isn’t interested in competing with Yubico and other makers; rather, it’s focused on offering the public more choice.

As yet Yubico has refrained from a universally available Bluetooth device, citing several practical challenges as well as insecurities in current Bluetooth systems. However pilot Bluetooth products have become more common over the past year and are likely to be universally available in the future, especially as Apple and other companies continue to fix Bluetooth security flaws.

Google, on the other hand, is releasing both Titan Bluetooth and Titan USB designs at the same time. Customers can buy each separately or a bundled package for around $50 USD. Product management director, Sam Srinivas, says Titan is for ‘customers who want security keys and trust Google’.

Anyone interested in a U2F security key should evaluate the many choices on the market to find the product best for them. There is no doubt that this technology is the next step in security and privacy protection. Maintaining the integrity of your online accounts is the best way to safeguard your reputation and ensure your online profile stays positive.

Contact ReputationDefender for more information on U2F and other security technology.

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