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‘Strongest Defence’: Google Takes On Hackers

Google announced on Wednesday that it was expanding its powerful account security protections beyond Android users to include iPhones.

Just eight months after Google brought its ‘strongest defence’ against phishing scams and hack attacks to Androids, a Google blog post revealed they were extending it to iPhones with the Google Smart Lock app.

‘We aim to secure all of our users with simple, powerful and personalized protections,’ Shuvo Chatterjee wrote in the blog post.

‘The Advanced Protection Program helps high-risk users—like members of political campaign teams, journalists, activists, executives, employees in regulated industries such as finance or government—shield themselves from targeted, sophisticated attacks on their Google Accounts.’

(Photo by Omar Marques / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

The new Google Smart Lock app enables iPhone users to use their device as a physical 2-factor-authentification key, making it impossible for hackers to access your Google account without physical possession of your phone.

It also replaces a reliance on text message codes sent to phones aimed at confirming your identity – but experts have long warned that the use of text messages is an insecure authentication method, because it’s easy for a skilled hacker to access them.

Google stated they felt the security upgrades were timely due to the impending U.S. elections in November.

(The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images)

‘With attacks on the rise, and many major events on the horizon this year like the U.S. elections in November, the Advanced Protection Program offers a simple way to incorporate the strongest account protections that Google offers,’ Chatterjee wrote.

Security experts outside of Google have also voiced their approval for the new security app.

Facebook’s former ex-security chief, Alex Stamos, tweeted:

‘This is another smart incremental step from the Google team that is doing more than anybody to make a password-free future possible.’

But it doesn’t come without a catch – The Verge has reported the new app only works in Google Chrome web browser, meaning Firefox, Safari or Windows browsers are still left vulnerable. For now.

You can read Google’s full statement here.

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