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Google is now protecting high-profile users against suspicious downloads in Chrome

If you’re a member of Google’s Advanced Protection Program, you’re now more protected than ever thanks to an update that brings Chrome into the fold.

Users enrolled in the program, which requires the purchase of two security keys from Google, will now be prevented from downloading files that Chrome deems as potentially dangerous. 

To protect our users proactively, attempts to download certain risky files will now show additional warnings, or in some cases even be blocked,” write Google’s Shuvo Chatterjee and Kiran Nair in a joint blog post. “While Chrome protects all users against malware, Advanced Protection users will get an even stronger level of protection.”

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The new protection is rolling out today, and to enable it, anybody enrolled in the Advanced Protection Program simply needs to turn on Chrome sync. 

Google says that the step is necessary thanks to Gmail’s success in blocking phishy attempts to target individuals.  Attackers are now “shifting their strategies to threaten Advanced Protection users outside of email with linked malware and ‘drive-by downloads’ where users unknowingly download harmful software onto their devices.”

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While the Advanced Protection Program is aimed at public figures who fear targeted attacks for their sensitive information – journalists, activists, politicians, business leaders and so on – anyone is free to enrol if they feel the need. The process simply requires you to purchase and register two security keys for two-factor authentication (2FA) – two, because Google wants you to have a backup in case you lose the first. Once you’re part of the program, you need to use a key as well as your password to log into Google, and access to Gmail, Drive files, Google apps and some third-party apps are locked down. 

It’s probably overkill for most who’ll be okay with more basic 2FA, but if you want to give it a go then you’ll be pleased to know that Google’s own Titan Security Key is now available to buy in the UK.

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