Google will upgrade its security tools for online accounts, amid increasing cyber attacks and politically motivated intrusions. Bloomberg reports that The Alphabet Inc. will offer the Advanced Protection Program, which makes such hacks harder for determined attackers.
Features allegedly include blocking third-party applications from accessing data, physical security keys, and more. Sources say it Google will market it to corporate executives, politicians, and others.
The DNC Hacks
The motivation for such a move is likely the hack of John Podesta, Hilary Clinton’s campaign chairman, in 2016. The campaign was severely damaged and the attacks are thought to be Russia-sponsored.
Google has upgraded its security tools repeatedly over the past year, adding more controls against phishing attacks. It also notifies users if they are potential targets of state-sponsored attacks, and has done so several times for journalists.
In 2014, it introduced a physical USB key, designed to improve on two-factor authentication. Sources say the new service will build on this via the third-party limitations, denying access to files on Google Drive and email. The new keys will also need to stay plugged into the device to access the additional controls. Google will continually update the service with new features.
The move comes just as Google has begun to pitch its Gmail and Doc apps to businesses, and could compete with Microsoft’s current offerings. So far, however, Google hasn’t responded to the claims and the sources remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the information.