July 19, 2024
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Ahead of the U.S. presidential election, Google is bringing passkey support to its Advanced Protection Program (APP), which is used by people who are at high risk of targeted attacks, such as campaign workers, candidates, journalists, human rights workers, and more.

APP traditionally required the use of hardware security keys, but soon users can enroll in APP with passkeys. Users will have the option to use passkeys alone or alongside a password or hardware security key.

“In a critical election year, we’ll be bringing this feature to our users who need it most, and continue to work with experts like Defending Digital Campaigns, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Asia Centre, Internews, and Possible to help protect global high-risk users,” Google’s VP of Security Engineering, Heather Adkins, said in a blog post.

Google says passkeys have been used to authenticate users more than 1 billion times across over 400 million Google Accounts since the company launched passkey support in 2022. Google says passkeys are used on Google Accounts more often than legacy forms of two-step verification, such as SMS one-time passwords and app-based one-time passwords combined.

Passkey logins make it harder for bad actors to remotely access your accounts since they would also need physical access to a phone. Passkeys also remove the need to rely on username and password combinations, which can be susceptible to phishing.

The technology has been adopted by numerous other companies, including Apple, Amazon, X (formerly Twitter), PayPal, WhatsApp, GitHub and TikTok.

Google also announced that it’s expanding its Cross-Account Protection program, which shares security notifications about suspicious activity with the third-party apps you’ve connected to your Google account. The company says this helps prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to one of your accounts and using it to infiltrate others. Google notes that it’s protecting 2.4 billion accounts across 3.4 million apps and sites and that it’s growing its collaborations across the industry.

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