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
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8142
Published: 2014-12-20
Use-after-free vulnerability in the process_nested_data function in ext/standard/var_unserializer.re in PHP before 5.4.36, 5.5.x before 5.5.20, and 5.6.x before 5.6.4 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted unserialize call that leverages improper handling of duplicate keys w...

CVE-2013-4440
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 generates weak non-tty passwords, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the password via a brute-force attack.

CVE-2013-4442
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 uses weak pseudo generated numbers when /dev/urandom is unavailable, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the numbers.

CVE-2013-7401
Published: 2014-12-19
The parse_request function in request.c in c-icap 0.2.x allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via a URI without a " " or "?" character in an ICAP request, as demonstrated by use of the OPTIONS method.

CVE-2014-2026
Published: 2014-12-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the search functionality in United Planet Intrexx Professional before 5.2 Online Update 0905 and 6.x before 6.0 Online Update 10 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the request parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.