Safety and Security

It’s Safer Internet Day: key tools to protect yourself online

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We are committed to making the internet a better, safe place for everyone. Whether it’s Google Play Protect automatically checking apps to keep your data and device safe, machine learning detecting harmful content on YouTube, or privacy controls in My Account allowing you to manage your data, we want you to feel safe while exploring Google.

Keeping you safe, however, means thinking beyond just our products, which is why we partner across the industry to share technology like Safe Browsing that protects over half of the world’s online population from dangerous websites. We are also working with partners to establish  reliability standards for publishers to use on their articles that help you assess the credibility of the information you discover.

In honor of Safer Internet Day—an opportunity to come together to talk about online safety—we wanted to remind you of the new tools that we’ve launched in recent months that give you extra protection online. We’ll never stop improving our tools to help ensure your information stays safe with us.

Tailored for you: the new Security Checkup

We recently rolled out a new version of our Security Checkup, which now provides personalized guidance to help you improve the security of your account. Instead of the same checklist for everyone, the Security Checkup is now a tailored guide to securing your data—your own personal security advisor.

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The Security Checkup provides a clear security status and personalized recommendations to strengthen your account security

When you visit the checkup, you’ll automatically see your security status: a green check mark icon means you’re good to go, and a yellow or red exclamation point icon means there’s at least one issue for you to take care of.

The new Security Checkup will keep evolving as new threats arise. You can count on it to provide you with relevant, up-to-date security advice that you can use to help keep your account safe. Take the new Security Checkup at g.co/securitycheckup.

Google’s strongest security, for those who need it most

When operating at the scale of Google, we strive to build products that serve the needs of billions of people. But when it comes to online safety, we know needs differ among our users.

That’s why back in October we introduced our Advanced Protection Program, which provides Google’s strongest security. Anyone can use Advanced Protection, but its design makes it of special interest to those who are at an elevated risk of attack and are willing to trade off a bit of convenience for more protection of their personal Google Accounts.

For example, these might be campaign staffers preparing for an upcoming election, journalists who need to protect the confidentiality of their sources, or people in abusive relationships seeking safety. Sometimes even the most careful and security-minded users are successfully attacked through phishing scams, especially if those phishing scams were individually targeted at the user in question.

Once you enroll in Advanced Protection, we’ll continually update the security of your account to meet emerging threats—meaning Advanced Protection will always use the strongest protections that Google has to offer.

At the start, the program focuses on three core defenses.

  • The strongest defense against phishing: Advanced Protection requires the use of Security Keys to sign into your account. Security Keys are small USB or wireless devices and have long been considered the most secure version of 2-Step Verification, and the best protection against phishing. An attacker who doesn’t have your Security Key is automatically blocked, even if they have your password. 
  • Protecting your most sensitive data from accidental sharing: Sometimes people inadvertently grant malicious applications access to their Google data. Advanced Protection prevents this by automatically limiting full access to your Gmail and Drive to specific apps. For now, these will only be Google apps, but we expect to expand these in the future.
  • Blocking fraudulent account access: Another common way hackers try to access your account is by impersonating you and pretending they have been locked out. With APP,  extra steps will be put in place to prevent this.
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Anyone with a personal Google Account can enroll in Advanced Protection. It’s compatible with Android and iOS, but you’ll need Chrome to sign up for Advanced Protection because it supports the U2F standard for Security Keys. We expect other browsers to incorporate this soon.

For now, Advanced Protection is only available for consumer Google Accounts. To provide comparable protections on G Suite Accounts, G Suite admins can look into Security Key Enforcement and OAuth apps whitelisting.

Sign up for Advanced Protection at g.co/advancedprotection.