Google makes Gmail super secure - but not for most users

High-risk groups such as journalists, political leaders and campaigners can protect their account with Advanced Protection

Gmail app icon

Google has beefed up security for some Gmail users who may need more robust protection against threats. 

The Advanced Protection version of Gmail allows businesses at the biggest risk of targeted attacks to secure their mail against phishing and so on with an enhanced security key. This will protect emails and files stored on Drive from being accessed by non-Google services.

Google also said it will also block fraudulent account access with extra steps to verify it's the user trying to use the services rather than an imposter.

"To provide the strongest defense against phishing, Advanced Protection goes beyond traditional 2-Step Verification," the company explained. "You will need to sign into your account with a password and a physical Security Key. Other authentication factors, like codes sent via SMS or the Google Authenticator app, will no longer work."

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Users in high-risk groups, such as journalists, business leaders, and political campaign teams that are likely to be hacked or attacked will only be able to access services such as Gmail and Google Photos from the Chrome browser and third-party apps that want to access Drive or other Google-services apps will be blocked.

iOS users won't be able to use Apple Mail, Contacts or Calendar with their Google account anymore, because those services don't support Security Keys. Instead, iPhone and iPad users will ned to download the Gmail, Inbox, or Google calendar apps on iOS.

If an Advanced Protection user ever loses access to their Security Keys, it'll take a lot longer to re-verify their identity -which could be days, Google said.

"A common way that hackers try to gain access to your account is by impersonating you and pretending they have been locked out of your account. To provide you with the strongest safeguards against this type of fraudulent account access, Advanced Protection adds extra steps to verify your identity," Google added. 

Anyone wishing to try the new service can buy two security keys - one for a mobile or tablet and one for a computer. They can be bought from Amazon for $25 (19) and $17.99 (14) respectively and then verified with Google before setting up the service.

Featured Resources

Digitally perfecting the supply chain

How new technologies are being leveraged to transform the manufacturing supply chain

Download now

Three keys to maximise application migration and modernisation success

Harness the benefits that modernised applications can offer

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

The 3 approaches of Breach and Attack Simulation technologies

A guide to the nuances of BAS, helping you stay one step ahead of cyber criminals

Download now


email delivery

How to recover deleted emails in Gmail

20 Jun 2019
cloud computing

Google adds partners to real-time translation tools

8 Jan 2020

The IT Pro Products of the Year 2019: All the year’s best hardware

24 Dec 2019
search engine optimization (SEO)

Google is getting worse as it does more

21 Dec 2019

Most Popular

mergers and acquisitions

Xerox to nominate directors to HP's board – reports

22 Jan 2020
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
public sector

UK gov launches £300,000 SEN EdTech initiative

22 Jan 2020
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020