The newly announced Titan Security Key from Google Cloud is the company's latest answer to password woes. Capable of storing upwards of 250 unique passkeys, Google argues the device is not only more secure than using passwords, but faster too.
While Google security keys have been around for several years already, the latest version, announced at the Aspen Cyber Summit in New York City, is replacing the previous USB-A and USB-C Titan devices.
This rollout is part of a wider initiative by Google to crack down on password theft, defending against phishing scams and preventing Google Account hacks.
The Titan Mark II: What’s Different?
Prior to this latest development, Google’s Titan Security Keys acted as an additional layer of security when logging in after entering your email and password.
This latest FIDO2 model introduces the ability to store passkeys, streamlining the login process to simply entering your username, plugging in the key, and verifying it with a PIN code (set via Chrome) instead of a password.
This new Titan security key is compatible with all services that support FIDO (Fast Identity Online) authentication, including those from third-party providers. It also offers significantly enhanced credential storage capacity, allowing you to save up to 250 account credentials compared to the mere 25 credentials supported by its predecessor, FIDO1 keys.
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The Titan Security Key can be purchased for $30 from the Google Store.
Passkeys vs Passwords: The Main Benefits
Passwords have been around for decades, and as such getting users to adopt a whole new way of securing their accounts and personal information is more a matter of human behavioral psychology than in justifying the benefits of a security key like the Titan.
Nonetheless the differences between passkeys and passwords are plentiful. Not only do users no longer have the burden of remembering numerous complicated passwords for multiple platforms, users typically login to accounts in half the time compared to passwords according to Google’s Security blog.
According to Google data from the same blog collected between March and April 2023, the success rate of user authentication using passkeys on the same device is significantly higher than that of passwords. The average authentication success rate with passwords is 13.8%, while the local passkey success rate is 63.8%, representing a fourfold increase.
Hardware authentication tokens offer distinct security advantages due to the fact that they are isolated devices. However, they still require robust security measures to prevent the introduction of new vulnerabilities.
Google’s Passwordless Future
Google doesn't just want to offer an alternative to passwords, it believes the best way to reduce the number of malicious attacks is to eliminate passwords altogether.
Alongside the rollout announcement in the Aspen Cyber Summit, Google published a blog where it discussed the primary features of the Titan and the motivation behind its development, “we’re excited about the potential of passkeys, but know there’s no security silver bullet for everyone,” the blog read.
With the move away from passwords gathering pace, with companies such as Amazon, Apple and many others adopting passkey technology, the days of the desperately trying to remember what combination of former pet and numbers you named your password after could well be coming to a close.