This Google log-in program is the strongest account protection the company offers. Here's how it works, and who might need to use it.

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This Google log-in program is the strongest account protection the company offers. Here's how it works, and who might need to use it.

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FILE PHOTO: The Google app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration taken September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
  • Google's Advanced Protection Program goes a step further than the usual dual-authentication: users enrolled in the program need to use a physical key, a key built into Android phones, or the Google Smart Lock iPhone app. 
  • The security comes with a few drawbacks - it's more time-consuming and it limits access to some Google-linked programs like the Nest smarthome system, Gizmodo reported. 
  • While everyday users might find the program cumbersome, Google recommends that people at a higher risk of target hacks like politicians, campaigns, journalists, and activists could benefit from the additional security. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

While Google encourages all kinds of users to enroll in dual-authentication - using something like a text message in addition to a password to verify a log-in - the company also provides a program that goes a step further, offering tighter security for people at a higher risk of being hacked. 

The Advanced Protection Program requires users to use a physical security key, a built-in Android security key, or the Google Smart Lock app for iPhone users. If you opt to use the physical key, Google requires you to have a backup one in case you lose the first one. 

The keys provide additional protection against hackers gaining control of your account with just a username and password. "Even if you do fall for a phishing attack... an unauthorized user won't be able to access your account without one of your security keys," Google says on its website. 

 

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The added security comes with some caveats: the additional steps can be time-consuming, and certain apps are restricted from linking to your Google account. Nest apps and devices won't sync with Google accounts under the additional security, according to a report from Gizmodo

But the extra time and effort to use the Advanced Protection Program could be worth it for individuals that are at a higher risk of being targeted for a hack. Google recommends that people like journalists, business executives, politicians, campaigns, and activists could benefit from the added security. 

To get started, you must have a physical security key (Google sells some), or the Android or iPhone security key. You can enroll on Google's website

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