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January 21, 2013

Google and Yubico Partner to Develop USB Password Rings

By Jody Ray Bennett, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Google (News - Alert) announced this week that it will be working with online security and authentication company, Yubico, to develop a small USB that will function as an online password key. A report, set to be published in IEEE (News - Alert) Security & Privacy Magazine, will not only detail Google’s plans for the key itself, but also explain where VP of security, Eric Grosse, and engineer, Mayank Upadhyay, see the future of online account security.

This report will outline how Google’s privacy team plans on changing the way we think about account security, beginning with a move toward security tokens, such as their new USB key. Grosse and Upadhyay believe that bearer tokens, such as cookies, are not adequately protecting users and serious changes need to be made going forward. Yubico’s key will synchronize itself with your online accounts via USB connection and act like a car key in logging into those accounts for you.

According to, Grosse and Upadhyay go on to note that while other groups have tried similar approaches, with varying success, and while their current plans are still in the early stages of development, they are nonetheless eager to begin real-world testing. Such ambitions include using a smartphone or smartcard-embedded finger ring to sync with a new device, streamlining future log-ins. 

Those worried about Google’s role in this project, and the potential for it to abuse that role, should not worry. The key would need to be able to interface with whatever browser you’re using on some level, the authentication process would be device-based and independent of Google - no special software require.

Yubico was founded in 2007, by Stina Ehrensvard, with a mission to make secure online identities properly ubiquitous. They provide high-quality, ethical and secure products at low costs, with manufacturing of their popular YubiKey taking place in both Sweden and the United States. They have worked with over 25,000 customers, ranging from individuals to major agencies and corporations such as U.S. Department of Defence and Microsoft (News - Alert), and enjoy a user base in the millions.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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