Google brings passkeys to its Advanced Protection Program

Visual representation of a passkey on a computer chip
(Image credit: Shutterstock/ ArtemisDiana)

Google has announced it is rolling out passkeys for the most high-risk users, providing an additional layer of protection on top of a physical security key and password.

As part of the Advanced Protection Program (APP), users who are more likely to face online attacks, such as journalists, elected officials, political campaign staff and human rights workers, can choose to enable an additional passkey to protect their accounts.

The APP program helps defend Google Accounts from traditional avenues of attack such as phishing, malware and fraudulent access to data.

Protecting high-risk accounts

Passkeys use FIDO authentication and biometric verification making them quick and secure to use to log in. As passkeys are tied to personal devices, they are not stored anywhere other than on your device, making them more secure that passwords and legacy forms of multi-factor authentication (MFA).

By integrating passkeys with APP, Google has done away with the need for those on the move to carry or purchase a physical security key to use to log into their accounts. Physical security keys are an inconvenient choice for those on the move frequently, as they can be lost or take too long to be delivered, making passkeys the optimal choice for a last minute business trip or a journalist travelling through a war zone.

Google also announced a new partnership with Internews to make APP, training materials, and other safety tools more accessible for high risk users across the world.

Recently, passkeys were pushed by Google as a way to make elections more secure by helping secure accounts against state-sponsored threats looking to meddle in democracy.

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Benedict Collins
Staff Writer (Security)

Benedict has been writing about security issues for close to 5 years, at first covering geopolitics and international relations while at the University of Buckingham. During this time he studied BA Politics with Journalism, for which he received a second-class honours (upper division). Benedict then continued his studies at a postgraduate level and achieved a distinction in MA Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy. Benedict transitioned his security interests towards cybersecurity upon joining TechRadar Pro as a Staff Writer, focussing on state-sponsored threat actors, malware, social engineering, and national security. Benedict is also an expert on B2B security products, including firewalls, antivirus, endpoint security, and password management.