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9/17/2010
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Google Apps Adds Two-Step Verification

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

Google Authenticator App
(click image for larger view)
Google Authenticator App

Google on Monday plans to offer its users improved security through the introduction of a two-step login verification process.

Initially, two-step verification will be available to Google Apps Premiere, Government, and Education edition users, at no extra charge. But Google plans to make the technology available to all its users in the coming months, once the company is confident it can scale the technology to meet demand.

Google is expected to make the announcement at an enterprise conference called Atmosphere, which is being held in a hotel near Paris, France.

Two-step verification is already offered as an option by many online banks. An online banking customer can have a verification code sent to his or her mobile phone when a login attempt is initiated. In order to complete the login process successfully, the customer must supply the code sent to the mobile device in addition to a user name and password.

Starting Monday, if enabled by a Google Apps administrator, Google Apps Premiere, Government, and Education edition users have the option of receiving an SMS message or voice call on their mobile phones with a login verification code. Users of Android, Blackberry, and (soon) iPhone devices also have the option of downloading a mobile app called Google Authenticator that can generate a login verification code without the need for network access.

Google plans to open-source the code for these mobile applications to allow third parties to adapt them to specific enterprise security needs, such as integration with an existing on-premises authentication system.

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