Feeds

Google Apps tap mobiles for beefier log-in security

Cell phone as security token

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Google is tapping user cell phones to provide an extra level of sign-in security for Google Apps, its suite of online business applications.

On Monday, the company announced that it's now offering what it calls two-step verification. When the new tool is turned on and you log in to your Google Apps account, it requires not only a password but a separate verification code pulled from your mobile phone. "This makes it much more likely that you’re the only one accessing your data," the company said in a blog post. "Even if someone has stolen your password, they'll need more than that to access your account."

The verification code is sent to your mobile phone via SMS, voice call, or an application that's available for Android handsets, BlackBerries, and iPhones. The service is available today for free on the Premier, Education, and Government editions of Google Apps, and users of the free Standard edition will have access "in the months ahead."

Administrators must activate the tool from the Admin Control Panel, and individual users can then set it up via the Accounts tab on their Gmail settings page. If you like, you can turn the service off for certain "trusted computers" (i.e. your work desktop) but leave it on whenever your account is accessed from other machines. "You can...indicate when you're using a computer you trust and don't want to be asked for a verification code from that machine in the future," the company said.

Google also plans to roll the service out across individual Google accounts (i.e. regular accounts for non-Google Apps users) in the coming months.

In an effort to encourage other outfits to adopt similar services, Google has based its two verification on the Initiative for Open Authentication (OATH) standard (not to be confused with OAuth), and it has open sourced its verification code mobile application – Google Authenticator – so that others can customize it as they see fit. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.