Google’s new Advanced Protection Program helps high-risk users


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Google on Tuesday announced a new security feature made specifically for people with Google accounts who are at high-risk of being targeted for online hacks.

The new Advanced Protection Program was created for folks like campaign staffers preparing for an upcoming election, journalists needing to protect confidential sources and people in abusive relationships who are seeking safety. 

Google took the unusual step of creating a program for this small subset of users because of their higher risk online and because they’ve been previously overlooked for additionally protections, Dario Salice, Google’s Advanced Protection Product Manager, said in a blog post Tuesday.

With the reference to campaign workers, it seems clear that Google created the program in part to respond to months of news reports about Russian election hacking last year that’s put a harsh spotlight on both Google and Facebook. The company is working on other new security measures, too, since the company has disclosed Russia-linked ads on its search engine that may have been used to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

The Advanced Protection Program provides a series of extra barriers for users. People enrolled in the program will need a physical security key to log onto their Gmail and other Google accounts. Also, Google limited the number of apps that can fully access your Gmail and Drive accounts. For now, these will be limited to only Google apps, but Google expects to expand the number of apps in the future.

Also, in the event you (or someone impersonating you) tells Google you’ve been locked out of your account, Google will take additional steps to review the request and ask for more details about why you lost access to your account.

For now, the program is only available for consumer Google accounts, but Google said anyone with a Google account can enroll into the program.

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