Google Recalls Titan Wireless Security Keys: Get Your Free Replacement

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Google's security key has a bug.

"This security issue does not affect the primary objective of security keys, which is to protect you against phishing by a remote attacker", said Google Cloud product manager Christiaan Brand in a blog post, noting that even flawed security keys are better than giving up on two-step authentication.

Google is offering free replacement keys for users who are affected by the security flaw. In the meantime, Google recommends you continue to use your key since the security protection provided generally outweighs the chances that you'll fall victim to this particular vulnerability. If the attacker also knows the victim's username and password and can time the attack properly, then the account could be compromised.

Feitian Technologies BLE security keys - sold for Google's Advanced Protection Program prior to the Titan-branded models - share this flaw and are also eligible for replacement. The attacker can later re-assign this rogue device as a Bluetooth keyboard, which they can later use to run malicious commands to hijack users' devices.

To tell if you might be affected, check the back of your key.

Still, Google understands the potential security risks caused by the flaw and has offered to replace any T1 or T2 Bluetooth Low Energy Titan Security Keys, free of charge. Google has a few suggestions for those who use the affected Bluetooth keys.

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"Due to a misconfiguration in the Titan Security Keys' Bluetooth pairing protocols, it is possible for an attacker who is physically close to you at the moment you use your security key - within approximately 30 feet - to (a) communicate with your security key, or (b) communicate with the device to which your key is paired", it said.

The company also provided a number of steps created to make it possible for users of iOS (12.2 or earlier) and Android devices and of BLE version of Titan Security Keys to minimizing the security risks until they receive their replacement security keys. Physical security keys are much more secure than texted temporary codes, which can be intercepted over the air.

Google noted that there needs to be a flawless storm of conditions in order for a hacker to infiltrate the Titan's defenses. They recommend using the key in a private place that is not within close proximity of other people. Google has more specific instructions for iOS and Android devices, which you can read here.

"We decided not to launch the [BLE security key] product as it does not meet our standards for security, usability and durability", Yubico co-founder Stina Ehrensvard wrote in a blog posting in July 2018.

"After you've used your affected security key to sign into your Google Account, immediately unpair it. Security keys are the same level of security used internally at Google". If you are already signed into your Google Account on your iOS device, do not sign out because you won't be able to sign in again until you get a new key.

Article updated with Google comment regarding Feitian-branded keys.

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