Tech

Passkeys are now accessible for high-risk users to register in the Advanced Protection Program

The Advanced Protection Program (APP) represents Google’s highest level of security for Google Accounts, offering enhanced protections against common cyber threats such as phishing, malware, and unauthorized data access. Initially designed for high-risk individuals like journalists, elected officials, political campaign staff, and human rights workers, APP now includes passkeys as an enrollment option, alongside traditional physical security keys.

What are passkeys?

Passkeys provide a more convenient and secure alternative to passwords, leveraging FIDO Authentication for resistance against phishing attempts. They can be quickly authenticated using a fingerprint, face scan, or pin, offering a 50% faster sign-in experience compared to passwords. Passkeys are generated on personal devices like smartphones and laptops, as well as compatible physical security keys. They enhance security by being device-tied, eliminating vulnerabilities associated with server-stored passwords.

How do passkeys benefit APP users?

Previously, enrolling in APP required two physical security keys in addition to a password. Recognizing the challenges some users face in accessing physical keys, such as journalists in conflict zones or traveling campaign workers, passkeys allow these individuals to secure their accounts using devices they already possess. This approach ensures both ease of use and robust security against phishing attempts.

Enrolling in APP with a passkey:

To enroll using a passkey, users need a compatible device and browser. They can visit the APP enrollment page, click “Get started,” and follow on-screen instructions to choose between a passkey or physical security key. During enrollment, adding recovery options like a phone number or email is mandatory to facilitate account recovery if needed.

New partnerships for enhanced security

Google has partnered with Internews to extend security support to journalists and human rights workers globally. This collaboration utilizes Internews’ network of security partners and trainers across 10 countries in Asia, Latin America, and Europe. It complements Google’s efforts to provide online safety tools like APP and Project Shield, distributing over 200,000 free security keys and conducting security training in 20 countries.

These initiatives underscore Google’s commitment to safeguarding high-risk individuals online, ensuring they can operate securely in challenging environments while maintaining access to essential digital tools.

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