Google Inc. has updated its line of Titan security keys by offering USB-A and a USB-C versions and dropping its Bluetooth options. On their Google blog page, Google explains their rationale for updating their security key lineup, and outline which security keys users should get.
As Christiaan Brand, Product Manager for Google Cloud, notes on the announcement blog, Google introduced the Titan Security Key back in 2018 as a way to help users avoid phishing attacks on Google accounts. That key was based on Bluetooth technology. Brand notes that now that NFC is supported on virtually all Android and iPhone devices, the company has developed NFC versions of its security keys to suit both kinds of consumers.
The security keys serve as a secondary form of security for devices running Google applications—it is a new form of 2-factor verification. In the past, the second form of identification involved Google sending a special password to a phone, which had to be typed in. With security keys, users still start by logging into their Google account in the usual way, then (after setup) they are prompted to plug their security key into a USB port on their device. Doing so allows entry into the pertinent Google system. This method prevents users from being subjected to a phishing attack—hackers may still gain access to the user’s Google password if they are able to dupe a user into providing it, but they will not be able to gain access to the account since they will not have the security key.
Brand notes that the choice of security key is strictly hardware based—users choose the type of key that will fit into the USB port on their device. He also notes that users who have Bluetooth-based Titan security keys will not be left out in the dark—their keys will still work with their devices. He notes also that the security keys can be used for all Google products and for other products that support them, such as Facebook and Dropbox.
The Titan security keys can be purchased at the Google Store—the USB-A version sells for $30 and the USB-C version sells for $35.
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