Google has launched Titan Security Keys at the Google Cloud Next ’18 convention in San Francisco. Titan Security Key is Google’s own hardware security keys for two factor authentication. It is a tiny USB device which is similar to Yubico’s YubiKey offering hardware-based two-factor authentication for your online accounts providing the user with highest level of protection against phishing attacks.
The hardware-based security keys are considered to be more effective at preventing attacks like phishing, man-in-the-middle and other such account-takeover attacks than 2 factor authentication via SMS. This is because even if your credentials are compromised, it is not possible to login to your account without a physical key.
Google has disclosed that their 85,000 employees were using physical security keys internally for several months and since then none of them have been victim to phishing attacks.
The existing traditional authentication protocols via SMS messages is very easy to be compromised while the Universal 2nd Factor Authentication (U2F) is extremely difficult to compromise that aims to simplify, fasten and secure two-factor authentication process.
A physical security key acts as an additional layer of authentication to an account above your password, and users can easily log into their accounts securely just by inserting the USB security key and pressing a button.
Titan Security Keys is based on the FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance, U2F (universal 2nd factor) protocol and includes a secure element and a firmware developed by Google that verifies the integrity of security keys at the hardware level. The Titan keys will come in two versions, one with Bluetooth support for mobile devices and another which plugs directly into your computer’s USB port. Bluetooth based wireless keys can be connected to both, your computer and mobile devices.
Titan Security Keys is now made available to Google Cloud customers and will be soon made available for anybody to purchase on the Google Store. Even though Google hasn’t announced the cost of the Titan Security Key it is believed to be around $20 or $30.
Just like other U2F security keys, the Titan keys also work with many online services like Google, Dropbox, Facebook, Github, and are supported by all major browsers including Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.