Got a Chromebook? Consider securing it with a Google Titan key

Google announced its Titan security key at its recent Cloud Next 2018 event, and you can now buy one. For $50, you get a pair of Titan security fobs: One that works via Bluetooth and one that supports USB-insertion and NFC tapping, although the latter feature is still in the works. I already ordered mine because although these two-factor authentication (2FA) devices help protect you from phishing, you can also use them to securely log into a Chromebook or other supported device.

My friend Phil from Android Central shared a great overview on how this all works in general and with the new Titan key in regards to online security:

Again, that’s really what 2FA is meant for. I just take it a step further with my Chromebook because without 2FA, if someone had my Google account credentials, they’d be able to log in to my Pixelbook. Sure, you can set up experimental 2FA with the power button on a Pixelbook, which is great for online password protection, but not so great for device protection, which then allows access to your online accounts anyway if you store the credentials with Google.

Granted, you can set up 2FA for Chrome OS device logins without a hardware security key. You can use an authenticator app, a trusted Bluetooth device such as your phone, a prompt in your Google mobile app or SMS message codes. And if you don’t want to buy and carry a physical key, these are all worth considering to add as a second line of defense for your online accounts and Chromebook login.

Is it a pain to carry a separate 2FA device around? Sure, but its far less of a pain than having your online accounts or device accessed by someone and then having to deal with everything that comes with that situation. Security is inconvenient. There’s no argument there. A slight inconvenience, however, is worth the price of additional security in my book…. and in my Pixelbook.

7 thoughts on “Got a Chromebook? Consider securing it with a Google Titan key

  • August 30, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Increasing number of Chromebooks has no USB-A port. I’d love to buy USB-C variant of this. (Once the NFC is working.)

    • August 30, 2018 at 11:07 am

      Yup, initially I was aggravated that this was Type A. But I get it. We’re still in transition to Type C and this way all devices can use the key. Would be nice to see a USB-C only option though.

  • August 30, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    I’ve had a Yubi key attached to my keychain for a couple of years. It’s so light I never notice it and performance hasn’t been affected by the exposed USB pins bouncing around against the other keys. That said, I haven’t been able to convince anyone else to do this. You’d think peace of mind about the security of your most important accounts would be worth such a minor inconvenience.


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