Google rolls out advanced Gmail security protection for high-risk users

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Google said on Tuesday it would roll out an “advanced protection program” to provide stronger email security for some users such as government officials, political activists and journalists who are at a higher risk of being targeted by sophisticated hackers.

Google users will have the ability to opt in to security settings aimed at protecting Gmail, Google Drive and YouTube data from phishing attacks.

The advanced protection features include an option to require a physical USB security key to connect to a desktop computer before each log-in as a way to verify a user’s identity. Mobile log-ins will require a Bluetooth wireless device.

Advanced protection users will have their data walled off from access by any non-Google third-party applications, such as the Apple <AAPL.O> iOS mail client or Microsoft <MSFT.O> Outlook.

The program also includes a more laborious and detailed account recovery process to prevent fraudulent access by hackers who try to gain access by pretending they have been locked out.

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