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Google adds iPhone capability to Advanced Protection Program

By Shannon Williams
Mon 20 Jan 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

iPhone users are now able to use their phones to sign up to Google’s Advanced Protection Program, using the iPhone’s built-in security key technology. 

Shuvo Chatterjee, product manager, Advanced Protection Program at Google, says the program provides the strongest protection against phishing attacks and safeguards the personal Google accounts  of anyone who may be at risk of targeted attacks.

“We aim to secure all of our users with simple, powerful and personalised protections. The Advanced Protection Program helps high-risk users - like members of political campaign teams, journalists, activists, executives, employees in regulated industries such as finance or government - shield themselves from targeted, sophisticated attacks on their Google Accounts,” Chatterjee says. 

“We’ve helped protect these types of people for many years: we introduced our government-backed attack warnings in 2012, and from July to September 2019, we sent more than 12,000 warnings to users around the world.”

While feedback about the Advanced Protection Program has been positive, there have been complaints that Google has not made it easy enough for users to enroll. 

“Today, we’re simplifying Advanced Protection while maintaining the same high level of security protections. Now, if you have an Android phone or iPhone, you can sign up and enroll into the programme with just a few clicks,” says Chatterjee.

The advanced protection works against phishing attacks because the programme requires exclusive use of security keys. According to a study by Google last year, people who exclusively used security keys to sign into their accounts never fell victim to targeted phishing attacks. However, using security keys can be a hurdle for users: they can be costly, and acquiring and keeping track of two extra pieces of hardware can be a burden.

“Everything becomes much simpler when the things we’re already carrying around - our smartphones - have a built-in security key,” says Chatterjee.

“That’s been the case on Android since last year, and starting today you can activate a security key on your iPhone as well. Millions of people around the world—many high-risk users among them—use iPhones, and this new capability makes Advanced Protection significantly easier for them,” he explains. 

“With attacks on the rise, and many major events on the horizon this year like the U.S. elections in November, the Advanced Protection Program offers a simple way to incorporate the strongest account protections that Google offers.”

Users can enroll in Advanced Protection if they have a phone running Android 7+ or iOS 10.0+.

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