You may have heard of Google's Advanced Protection program. Maybe not. In any case, we will talk about what it is, who should use it and how to activate it.
What is Google Advanced Protection?
Google Advanced Protection (GAP) is basically a two-factor authentication (2FA). Uses 2FA as part of the process, but requires two security keys instead of just one.
The second key is more secure, so your account is still protected if something happens to the first. It's a feature that anyone can add to their Google Account.
In addition, GAP also restricts third-party access to your Google Account. Although you can use your account to sign in to some sites, this type of access is limited to "Google Apps and third-party apps", which helps protect your data from any possible "bad" activity.
Finally, GAP allows additional security measures to protect your account from potential intruders. As unlikely as it is, the most determined of the account thieves can try to steal your account simply by pretending to be you. With GAP enabled on your account, there are additional steps to avoid this - even if you lose both security keys. This means that Google will require additional information for someone to access your account. Google says "it will take a few days to confirm that it's you." Well. Try not to lose your keys.
Who is Advanced Protection for?
Now there is the big question. With all these extra levels of security it is clear that GAP is not for everyone. In fact, it probably is not even for you.
Google's intention with Advanced Protection is to protect the "personal Google Accounts of anyone at risk of targeted attacks, such as journalists, activists, leaders and political campaign groups."
If you are not one of them, chances are you do not need to enable GAP. It's just too much for most users. For most, the use of 2FA is enough. And as we mentioned earlier, you do not need to use GAP to add security keys to your Google Account.
But if you want the GAP , see how you can activate it.
First let's look at a list of things you will need:
- Two security keys, one Bluetooth, one USB, like the package Titan Key of Google.
- 2-step verification enabled on your Google Account.
- The password for Google and a 2-step verification device.
- To be sure is something you want or need. Seriously, think about it.
That's it. Let's start.
How to enable Advanced Protection on your Account
For a start you will need two security keys. If not here's a new product just for you!
Go to Google Advanced page. Click the "Start" button.
The following page will confirm what you already know: you need a pair of keys for this. Go to the bottom and click the "I have 2 security keys" button.
You will need to enter your password on the next page before continuing.
Now it's time to enter your security keys. What is interesting here is that I already had two security keys in my account before I started this process, but none of them appeared. So I added them again, which replaced my existing keys.
Click the box to enter your key and follow the instructions. Be sure to give them unique names so you know which one is which one. I use the Titan Key package here, which is why I named them Titan BLE and Titan USB - for Bluetooth and USB, respectively.
Once you have added both, click the "Continue" button. A final screen will appear confirming what will change once activated. If you're okay with that, press the "Activate" button!
There is another box after that. It simply informs you that you will be disconnected from all devices (including the one you are configuring) and will need to log in again with your password and security key.
You will see balloons when you manage to activate them.
How to turn off Advanced Protection
Turning it off is much easier than turning it on. Go to your Google Account page and , then click on "Security".
Fortunately, Advanced Protection is at the top of the list. Do you see this "Disable" button? Click and enter your password.
Your account now has no additional protection and security keys. But leave Verification enabled in 2 steps.