Security

Google: 2FA prevented 50 percent of hacked accounts

Rollout continues this year

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Two-factor authentication (or 2FA) is quickly becoming a must-have for both individual and corporate users. The verification method adds a significant layer of security for any online account. However, though 2FA creates security, one can also see how it adds some extra, potentially hassling steps for anyone who just wants to get into their accounts quickly. If you follow that line of thinking, you might be wondering if the additional security outweighs the hassle of whipping out your phone every single time.

Well, according to Google, it’s totally worth it. Last year, the company automatically applied two-factor authentication to some users, starting a push to eventually get everyone into the security measure. The initiative is reportedly paying off. Google has recently revealed that 2FA has decreased compromised accounts by a whopping 50 percent.

It’s a proof of concept for the company. Google is additionally promising that the authentication measure’s rollout will continue this year. The company will also add more ways to stay secure while browsing online including an account-based way to prevent access to harmful sites.

If you don’t prefer a huge deep dive into what’s coming for Google’s gallery of security features, you can still easily get into two-factor authentication. A lot of sites today already offer the feature to add that extra layer. Users who opt into the feature will receive a time-sensitive key (through Google’s Authenticator app) they need to input every time they log into their account.

While, yes, it does add some time before you get into your account, Google’s latest report does spark some confidence in the measure’s effectiveness.

SEE ALSO: Google: Tablets are the future

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Apple, Google, and Microsoft are getting rid of the password

It’s an ultra-rare partnership

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A partnership between two of the biggest tech companies comes once in a blue moon. A joint project between three companies, though, is even rarer. Yet, here we are, on World Password Day, staring at three of those companies — Apple, Google, and Microsoft — as they take on their biggest challenge together: the password.

Announced through the FIDO Alliance (an organization building better security), the three companies have committed to bringing password-less sign-ins to their respective platforms. In lieu of a single password, the new standard will use a device’s locking method — PINs, fingerprint readers, and face unlocking — as the user input to access the account. Additionally, it will also authenticate the log-in attempt using credentials stored inside the device.

Though a staple of today’s internet culture, passwords have turned into huge hassles for ordinary users. Almost every service today requires users to create an account and, therefore, new passwords. Remembering dozens of different passwords is nigh impossible, forcing users to reuse passwords. Not everyone uses a password manager either.

In the past few years, companies have started to use other methods to supplement the measly password. Some accounts require users to input a timed authenticator code or answer a prompt on another device.

With the FIDO Alliance’s efforts, logging in might become simpler but more secure. As of yet, there is no timetable as to when Apple, Google, and Microsoft will completely transition into the new standard. If anything, Microsoft already announced their transition last year.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft is going password-less

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Android is working on a built-in detector for AirTags

And other trackers

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Because of ongoing issues, Apple started diving deeper into what the AirTags are capable of. The company specifically wanted to address unauthorized tracking by stalkers. However, Apple isn’t the only ecosystem with tracking technology. Android has its own set of trackers. Google, following Apple’s lead, is working on its own detector for attached trackers.

Spotted by 9to5Google, the company is developing a built-in Bluetooth feature that detects trackers that might be attached to the user without their permission. As such, Android users will eventually get the feature without installing a third-party app. The added lines of code specifically mention the AirTag and Tile devices.

Tracking these devices on Android isn’t exactly new. Both Apple and Tile previously released Android apps and features that detected unauthorized trackers for users. However, both solutions naturally depend on the user installing the apps in the first place. Users who don’t own AirTags or a Tile tracker won’t likely have the app on hand.

With a pre-installed tracking feature, users won’t need any external app anymore since the feature will be built into Play services. Anyone on Android will be automatically notified if an unregistered device suddenly starts following them.

However, according to the report, the feature is still in early development. There is no indication if or when it makes out of the development stage. If anything, Google has preface for releasing such a feature, especially as the Google I/O event approaches.

SEE ALSO: Should you worry about stalkers using an AirTag on you?

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Apple workers are using Android phones for privacy

To hide unionization plans

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In the United States, the tech-based workforce is going through a revolution. Prompted by abuse at work, a lot of workers are protesting for better pay and working conditions. Of course, one form of protest is boycotting their company’s products. Apple’s employees are doing just that by using Android phones instead of iPhones.

Though one can easily chalk this off as a boycotting protest, Apple’s employees have another reason for doing so. Reported by The Washington Post, they have turned to Android phones to protect their privacy while they form unionization plans.

Most protests ongoing today revolve around unionization. Retail employees in the United States are earning way below inflation rates. Unionization will prompt more representation to push Apple to increase wages and adequately fight bullying in the workplace.

Naturally, Apple and its contemporaries are either fighting against union efforts or finding loopholes around it. For corporations, knowing what their employees are doing is imperative. For an Apple employee, using an iPhone might be problematic and risky.

Besides using Android phones, employees are also using encrypted messaging. The source did not reveal which app they are using — likely for privacy reasons.

Most of the issue centers around the woes of Apple’s employees. However, it does highlight some claims made by Apple in the past. A few years ago, Apple focused their marketing on their product’s proclivity towards privacy and security. Though it should be taken as given now, Apple likely isn’t as secure as they claim, based on the employees’ refusal to use iPhones for privacy purposes.

SEE ALSO: Non-Pixel phones are finally getting Android 12’s Material You

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