How to Lock Down Your Google Account With a Security Key
Your online existence may depend on your Google accounts. Use a hardware security key to prevent account takeovers and keep them secure.
Do you want lock down your google account with a security key? You probably have a Google account if you use the internet, whether it’s to upload movies to YouTube, check your email with Gmail, or use one of the many Android device capabilities.
Given the significance of Google, it is essential that you protect your account from hacking, and the best method to do so is with multi-factor authentication (MFA) and a security key.
(This is particularly critical if you use Gmail; if an intruder has access to your email, they can utilize the account recovery tools on other websites to take over those accounts, too.
Nevertheless, what exactly is a security key and how can you use one to secure your Google account? To demonstrate, we are here.
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What Is Multi-Factor Authentication?
MFA is occasionally referred to as two-factor authentication (2FA), but not because it requires an additional step during login.
The name really derives from a deeper idea of identification, according to which there are three main categories into which all types of authentication can be divided:
- something you are aware of, such as a password.
- something about you, such as a fingerprint or another biometric characteristic.
- a possession, such as a security key.
The theory is that combining more than one of these elements will successfully keep evil guys out.
Even if an attacker knows your password, they won’t have your security key or fingerprint, making it impossible for them to access your account.
The most significant lesson you should learn from this article is to always use MFA when it is available.
While certain MFA methods are more secure than others, the most crucial thing is that you pick one that suits you and use it consistently.
Mobile authenticator applications and SMS-delivered one-time use codes are the two most popular MFA techniques. For anyone new to MFA, we believe authenticator applications are a fantastic place to start. One-time use codes are generated by these apps, which you input together with your username and password.
They are free and simple to use, but you must have a working smart device on hand to use them.
We strongly advise readers not to receive MFA codes via SMS because they might be intercepted. However, if it’s the only choice, utilizing it is preferable to using no MFA at all.
Remember that Google has more MFA options, notably for Android users.
What’s a Security Key?
The little device you use to authenticate yourself to a website or service is called a security key. It is typically around the size and form of a USB flash drive.
The majority of keys use NFC to wirelessly communicate with smartphones and tablets, while security keys can also be plugged into portable electronics.
Security keys provide a number of advantages, but their main advantage is that they don’t need a phone to function.
The majority of security keys don’t have any moving components, batteries, or need a network connection to work. It’s also more difficult for bad individuals to target them because they’re dedicated, offline devices.
Additionally, using security keys makes login into your company email feel more exciting, like you’re a secret agent.
Of course, utilising security keys has disadvantages. They are expensive, often ranging between $20 and $80. Another issue is that not every website or service accepts security keys.
You’ll need to utilize an authenticator software for all the locations that don’t take keys, even if you’re prepared to go all-in with security keys.
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Many readers have contacted us out of concern that shady characters would take their security keys. Although unlikely, they would still need your password to take over your account.
But don’t let that stop you. There are many ways to avoid being locked out of a website due to MFA.
The simplest is just to enable several MFA choices, like a second backup key or an authenticator app, or, as a last resort, generate backup codes.