Google will soon begin selling a plug-in security key meant to help replace using only passwords for logging into computers, an effective solution to the pervasive problem of phishing attacks, according to the company.
The key, which resembles a USB memory stick, plugs into your computer's USB port and bypasses the process of typing in your passwords. In addition to your password, the device provides a unique encryption key for you and your device. If someone else, say a criminal who bought stolen passwords from the dark web, doesn't have it, that person can't access your information.
Google did not announce pricing for the device, but similar gadgets sell for at least $20.
Google has been using the security keys internally in conjunction with password logins for all of its employees, a spokesperson said. The result has been a total falloff in account takeovers from phishing, or the practice of tricking someone into giving their password away via a link that looks legitimate.
"We have had no reported or confirmed account takeovers since implementing [the] security keys," the spokesperson said.
That's a compelling use case, as companies are trying to find a cure for an epidemic of successful, fraudulent phishing attacks by email.