After a few weeks of teasing, having been introduced at Google's Cloud Next Conference, the Google Titan Security Key is now available for purchase in the Google Store. The $50 bundle includes a pair of keys, actually. One is a traditional USB-A (and NFC, but more on that in a second) model. The other includes USB (via a micro-USB adapter) and Bluetooth.
Here's what you need to know:
- The Titan Security Key(s) is based on the standards from the FIDO Alliance, which comes up with the Universal 2-Factor standards used in two-factor authentication. So that's FIDO, U2F, and 2FA, for those of you who prefer acronyms.
- These keys are a more secure form of two-factor authentication. You'll still need your password, but then you'll plug in (or use Bluetooth or NFC) your key and tap it for that second factor of authentication.
- (No, these aren't also fingerprint scanners.)
- The USB Titan Key also does NFC, which works great with phones. However, we're awaiting an update to the Android software itself to be able to use NFC with the Titan Key. (Other U2F NFC keys, like the Yubico Neo, work just fine at the moment.)
- This is the sort of thing you'll need to use in conjunction with the Google Advanced Protection Program. More on that here.
Why's Google doing this? To help push adoption, for one thing. SMS two-factor codes are notoriously interceptable, and even software tokens aren't much better. With a physical hardware key, you're proving that someone (presumably you) are in possession of the key. And as an added layer of security, the keys allow your browser to report back which page you're trying to log in from. If it's from something like www.googl3.com and not www.google.com (or something far more sneaky), it'll be rejected.
Google also controls this hardware, as well as the firmware. Unlike other U2F keys, the firmware is locked down and can't be modified. And to be clear, it doesn't just work with Google's two-factor systems. It still works with anything that uses the FIDO standards.
And that's that. Google is selling these as a bundle, for now, because you really should keep one key on hand, and stash the other as a backup. (You'll need to register both with whatever services you're using, obviously.)
If you can about your online security, this could well be the best $50 you spend.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
Microsoft teaming up with Samsung for gaming and XCloud could be HUGE
At Samsung's 2020 Unpacked event, the Korean tech giant announced a partnership with Xbox. Details are scant, but what could it mean for the future of Microsoft's gaming platform?
Samsung takes folding phones mainstream with the Galaxy Z Flip
Last year's Galaxy Fold was very much an experiment for Samsung is an entirely new product category, but in just a year's time, the Galaxy Z Flip has debuted with the makings of a mainstream hit. If you ask me, that's mighty impressive.
Would you rather have the Galaxy S20+ or Note 10+?
The Galaxy S20+ and Note 10+ are two of the best Samsung phones you can buy in 2020. If you could only choose one, which would it be and why?
These are the best smart locks that you can use with Alexa
Looking to make your home smarter? Check out these smart locks!