Google has announced plans to expand rollout of its two-step verification (2SV) security measure, following a 50 percent decrease in account breaches after it auto enrolled an initial 150 million Gmail and 2 million YouTube accounts to the program.
Google’s 2SV requires a user to verify their identity via a notification sent to their mobile phone every time they attempt to login into their Google account from a different secondary device such as in an internet cafe or at work. Failure to verify via the mobile notification, the user will be denied access, thus creating an additional layer of security.
Google is actively innovating technologies to make the authentication and login process for users as seamless as possible, aiming to ultimately phase out passwords. Users often find passwords hard to remember and have to update them regularly, which poses a breach vulnerability.
“We don’t just plug security holes, we work to eliminate entire classes of threats for people who depend on our services. 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,” says Michael Murungi, Public Policy & Government Relations Manager for Kenya and Eastern Africa.
The announcement coincides with the celebration of this year’s Safer Internet Day, under the theme “Together for a better Internet.” Online security has become a very important subject in public discourse, and a priority especially for tech companies whose products facilitate the bulk of online activity, as well as governments that have come under scrutiny for citizen surveillance and data breaches.
In 2021, a consortium of journalists broke the story of the Pegasus Project; a spyware tool built by an Israeli cyber security firm called NSO, that allowed clients, mostly governments, to take complete control of mobile phones for surveillance.
A data leak from NSO revealed that at least 180 journalists around the world had been selected as targets. The story brought to the forefront conversation around how best to keep ourselves safe from numerous threats while online.
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