Google is distributing 100,000 Titan security keys to high-risk users16. November 2023
Google is distributing 100,000 Titan security keys to high-risk users
<<San Francisco, November 15, 2023
G<oogle is giving away another 100,000 pieces of free security hardware to protect people in high-risk industries.
Google’s Titan security keys act as a “second factor” that can be used after entering passwords. You can also store passkeys that allow users to sign in to apps and websites the same way they unlock their devices: with a fingerprint, face scan, or screen lock PIN.
Titan Security Keys allows users to store passkeys for accounts outside of Google. It uses FIDO2 technology, a security standard for authentication on the web.
Google introduced the product at the Aspen Cyber Summit in New York City and announced that it would distribute 100,000 keys for free over the course of 2024 to people working in governments around the world, particularly those involved in managing elections involved.
Many of the high-risk users are part of Google’s Advanced Protection Program (APP), which protects prominent people like activists, journalists and more from online attacks.
The company distributed the same number of keys in 2023. Google said it was working with nonprofit organizations such as Access Now, Defending Digital Campaigns, Freedom House, the International Foundation of Electoral Systems, Internews and PUBLIC in this effort.
“For the people we serve at Defending Digital Campaigns (DDC), high-risk users in political campaigns, using FIDO2 security keys as part of implementing the strongest possible authentication is our top recommendation,” said Michael Kaiser, President and CEO of Defending Digital Campaigns, an organization that helps political campaigns and parties protect themselves online.
Defending Digital Campaigns has scheduled meetings with both parties in early December to outline security measures needed for the upcoming 2024 elections.
“Our partnership with Google, allowing us to provide federal campaign keys for free, has had a significant impact on increasing cybersecurity in the political sector.”
Google officials said they took this action because of ongoing concerns about stolen passwords. The first Titan Security Key was released in 2018.
“We believe the best way to eliminate the risks of passwords is to get rid of them altogether,” Google said. “Passkeys are an easier, more secure way to log in to your accounts – without requiring a password. They use FIDO2 credentials and cryptography so you can use your existing devices to securely confirm who you are.”
Carlos Guerra, technical advisor for digital security programs at Internews, emphasized. The introduction of two-factor authentication is one of the most important steps people can take to protect their online accounts, which have been increasingly targeted over the years at all levels and in all professions.
Depending on the threats they are dealing with and the situations in which they find themselves, physical security keys, including those using FIDO-2 technology, can be particularly helpful tools for human rights defenders and high-risk civil society organizations but they can be difficult to obtain because of cost and logistics, Guerra explained.
“Large distribution programs like Google’s are important for getting secure tools to the people who really need them,” Guerra added.