Protecting your data is an important topic these days. It seems every day when you turn the TV on you are hearing about some new data breach. And, these are only the major ones we are hearing about. There are thousands of people every day getting data stolen that we do not hear anything about. Then, when you introduce the cloud to the equation it makes for a more precarious situation. However, Google is doing something new to help protect the data that you store in their Google Drive program. It is called Security Keys and this article talks a bit more about them.
Google has been offering layers of protection for their applications from some time. The most common one is their two-step authentication which prompts you to enter a random code before getting access to your Google applications. This is a good level of protection that you should be using if you are using Google. But, Security Keys take things a step further with your Google Drive.
The Security is an actual USB device that plugs into your computer and sends out an encrypted key that verifies your identity to Google. You can get one for about $6 per device and there is no special software to install to make it work. You can even see where each key is used, and they can be disabled remotely should you lose one.
This device also makes the login process simpler. When you use the key on a particular device you can prompt for the computer to be remembered so you don’t have to use the device again on that computer if you choose that option. But, if your account is accessed from another device by a hacker, for example, they cannot get in unless they have your password and the physical key.
The Security Keys are not without their flaws, however. For one, you cannot use them on mobile devices like tablets and smart phones. And, they only work on your Google account when using the Chrome browser. If you access the service from another browser or from a mobile device, then you will need to continue using the two-step authentication.
The other drawback is that the Security Keys only work with Google Drive currently. You cannot use them with other Google applications like mail, voice, etc. Some users also have concerns about how much security it actually provides in the absence of a PIN number of fingerprint authentication. Their fear is that a stolen key could be used to access a drive before it is disabled.
The important thing to remember is it is another layer of protection. It is not perfect, but it adds a considerable amount of security to your account versus what a simple password can provide. A complex password combined with this device can create a major obstacle for someone who wishes to access your account and do harm.