Google is giving free physical USB security keys to 10,000 users at high risk of being hacked – such as politicians and human rights activists. The USB keys provide two-factor authentication – an additional layer of security beyond a password.
Google says it wants to encourage people to join its “advanced protection programme” for high-profile users. It follows news that the firm sent thousands of warnings to Gmail users who were targeted by hackers.
The warnings were issued after Google detected in late September a campaign targeting about 14,000 Gmail users “across a wide variety of industries”, Shane Huntley, director of Google’s Threat Analysis Group said in a statement.
Mr Huntley said the campaign came from from APT28 – a Russia-linked hacking group – and was a phishing attempt, which is an email campaign designed to look legitimate to trick people into revealing their passwords.
“As we always do, we sent those people who were targeted by government-backed attackers warnings”, Mr Huntley wrote, adding that the emails were successfully blocked.