NOT LIKELY to surprise anyone, a Google engineer has revealed that 90 per cent of Gmail accounts don't make use to two-factor authentication.
Engineer Grzegorz Milka spilled the beans at Usenix's Enigma 2018 security conference, reported The Register, noting that less than 10 per cent of Gmail users make use of the security feature. He also claimed that a mere 12 per cent of Americans make use of a password manager to secure their accounts - yes, that many!
Google has been trying to push two-factor authentication by making the whole process easier to use, notably through the Google Prompt tool designed to use an app rather than less secure text messages to facilitate user authentication requests.
But even with the search giant's efforts, it would appear that two-factor authentication just isn't sexy enough to appeal to large swathes of Gmail users.
That being said, Google is pretty hot on detecting illegitimate attempts by hackers and other nefarious types to break-in to Gmail.
Increased use of heuristics, essentially looking out for problem solving and discovery techniques, Google's security attempts to spot behaviours in Gmail that might indicate that an account has been hacked or that an illegitimate user is attempting to crack the password.
Milka was asked by The Register why two-factor authentication isn't enabled by default in Gmail. "The answer is usability," the engineer answered. "It's about how many people would we drive out if we force them to use additional security."
It looks, therefore, like Google isn't going to force two-factor authentication on anyone any time soon. So people paranoid about Gmail security should go and enable 2FA and hope that all of Google's tech nous and work on artificial intelligence can keep the hackers at bay. µ
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