Google protects 10,000 high-risk users with security keys

Google is providing security keys to 10,000 high-risk users of the platform for free. 
Google is providing security keys to 10,000 high-risk users of the platform for free. 

Google is giving out “Titan” USB security keys (retailing at US$41) to 10,000 of its users, free of charge. According to the tech giant, these users range from politicians and activists and are the most susceptible to attacks. By using one of the physical USB sticks, these at-risk users will be able to enable two-factor authentication, creating an additional layer of protection against attackers. This news follows shortly behind the tech giant’s warning email sent to thousands of Gmail users who hackers targeted.

At the end of last month, a campaign was sent to 14,000 Gmail users “across a wide variety of industries,” said Shane Huntley, director of Google’s Threat Analysis Group. Huntley cited the phishing campaign to come from a Russia-linked hacking group called APT28. “As we always do, we sent those people who were targeted by government-backed attackers warnings”, he wrote.

The rise of cyberattacks 

This news is unsurprising, given the astronomical rise in cyberattacks in the last 18 months. According to Statista, over 102.6 trillion emails are sent each year. Even with the rise of several new communication platforms, email remains at the heart of communication and cybersecurity risk. In Proofpoint’s report Reimagining Email Security, over 90% of cyberattacks begin with email. In 2020, attackers sent almost 60 million emails hosted via Microsoft Office 365 and sent just under 90 million via Google.

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Proofpoint’s The Human Factor Report confirms that over 99% of today’s cyberattacks are human-activated. To mitigate against this, Proofpoint emphasizes the need to know who an organization’s Very Attacked People (VAP) are, how they are targeted, and who are vulnerable to such threats. In addition, organizations need to focus on protecting four points of access: Email, Cloud, Users and Suppliers.

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