Online search giant Google on Tuesday said it would provide advanced protection to users who are particularly vulnerable to online attacks. Journalist, activists and government official are among the company’s high-risk users. The new features would give users who sign up for it “Google’s strongest security”.
Among examples of high-risk users this might be relevant for, Google named campaign staffers preparing for elections, journalists who need to keep their sources confidential, or people in abusive relationships seeking safety.
Those who enrol for the “Advanced Protection Program” will get continuous updates to their account’s security. Such users will also have strong defence against phishing, through “security keys” – or small wireless or USB devices that use digital signatures for signing in. A hacker with the right password but no security key cannot sign into the user’s account, Google said.
“Journalists, human rights defenders, environment campaigners and civil society activists working on any number of sensitive issues can quickly find themselves targeted by well-resourced and highly capable adversaries,” said Andrew Ford Lyons of nonprofit Internews, who worked with Google on the project. “For those whose work may cause their profile to become more visible, setting this up could be seen as an essential preventative step.”
Other features of the programme include security against malicious applications and impersonation.