Google has announced expansion of its two-step verification (2SV) process for log-ins, to enhance account security. It took the step after its newly introduced two-step verification initiative saw a 50% drop in account breaches for 150-million Gmail and 2-million YouTube creator accounts.
The 2SV process requires the use of mobile phones to confirm a user’s identity everytime they access their Google Account from a different device.
Aligning with this year’s global Safer Internet Day theme, “Together for a better Internet”, Google says, it is actively working on new technologies that will provide a secure, seamless sign-in experience and eliminate reliance on passwords. This reliance has turned out to be a major cause for data breaches and phishing attempts. Users also find passwords hard to remember and have to update them regularly.
“We don’t just plug security holes, we work to eliminate entire classes of threats for people who depend on our services,” says Abongile Mashele, government affairs and public policy senior manager at Google. “Today alone, billions of people around the world will use our products to help with things big and small from conducting e-payment transactions or teaching an online class full of students. It is our responsibility to keep users’ personal information safe and secure.”
Google provides tools like Security Checkup, which provides users with practical tips on how to increase the security of their Google account. In 2021, Google accelerated its effort to eliminate password threats by starting to auto-enroll users in 2SV, providing people with an additional layer of security when cyber criminals attempt to hack into their accounts. Through the initiative, more than 1.5-billion security checks were done.
Says Mashele: “This decrease speaks volumes to how having a second form of verification can be effective in protecting your data and personal information. And while we are proud of these initial results and happy with the response we have received from our users and the community, we are excited about other ongoing behind the scenes work intended to make our users even safer.”
To improve online security, Google recommends running frequent Security Check Ups to ensure that accounts are prepared for recovery by adding a phone number and a backup email. It secures accounts and prevents bad actors from gaining access. Additionally, Google recommends using Google Password Manager, which is built directly into Chrome, Android, and the Google App, to create safe passwords for all online accounts, including shopping, banking, and e-learning sites.