Risk
9/17/2010
06:44 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Apps Adds Two-Step Verification

Enhanced security is now available to Google Apps enterprise customers via their mobile phones.

Google security product manager Travis McCoy says that the widespread adoption of cloud computing means that employees are often off-premises and outside corporate security controls when they access company data. This has created a challenge: making external points of access as safe as internal ones.

McCoy says that Google's security team determined that improving login security would have the most impact on user security. "The user name and password model is fundamentally flawed in several ways," he said in a phone interview.

Gartner VP Avivah Litan says that Google is taking a step in the right direction, though she argues that more needs to be done. "It's better than just passwords," she said in a phone interview.

Two-factor authentication has become popular as a way to give users confidence in cloud computing services, she said, pointing to several recent identity access management acquisitions, such as VMware's acquisition of TriCipher.

"Enterprise customers don't want their accounts being taken over, especially if they're using them to store intellectual property or business plans," she said.

Litan observes that verification codes won't prevent unauthorized access if the user's computer is already compromised by malware like the Zeus trojan and McCoy concedes that point. "It's not a panacea but we do think it's a significant step forward," he said.

Google has already taken a number of such steps to improve online security. In 2004, it added SSL support to Gmail and made SSL the default earlier this year. The company has also made an encrypted version of Google Search available and had taken steps to allow Gmail users to see when and from which IP address their Gmail account was last accessed.

Litan notes that two-factor authentication is no longer enough for many banks and she suggests that Google will have to move on to monitoring for suspicious use patterns. While McCoy declined to provide specifics about Google's future security plans, he points to Gmail's IP address login records as evidence that Google is already moving in the direction that Litan advocates.

"We have to assume there is no security system we can deploy that's bulletproof," he said. "At that point, it makes sense to switch to notification."

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-1544
Published: 2014-07-23
Use-after-free vulnerability in the CERT_DestroyCertificate function in libnss3.so in Mozilla Network Security Services (NSS) 3.x, as used in Firefox before 31.0, Firefox ESR 24.x before 24.7, and Thunderbird before 24.7, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via vectors that trigger cer...

CVE-2014-1547
Published: 2014-07-23
Multiple unspecified vulnerabilities in the browser engine in Mozilla Firefox before 31.0, Firefox ESR 24.x before 24.7, and Thunderbird before 24.7 allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (memory corruption and application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-1548
Published: 2014-07-23
Multiple unspecified vulnerabilities in the browser engine in Mozilla Firefox before 31.0 and Thunderbird before 31.0 allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (memory corruption and application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-1549
Published: 2014-07-23
The mozilla::dom::AudioBufferSourceNodeEngine::CopyFromInputBuffer function in Mozilla Firefox before 31.0 and Thunderbird before 31.0 does not properly allocate Web Audio buffer memory, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (buffer overflow and applica...

CVE-2014-1550
Published: 2014-07-23
Use-after-free vulnerability in the MediaInputPort class in Mozilla Firefox before 31.0 and Thunderbird before 31.0 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (heap memory corruption) by leveraging incorrect Web Audio control-message ordering.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Sara Peters hosts a conversation on Botnets and those who fight them.