Last year, Google released the Titan security key. It can be used as ultra secure methods for two-factor authentication for some online services over USB-A, NFC, or Bluetooth. Today, Google announced an updated USB-C key to the lineup, which will be available tomorrow from the Google Store for $40.
The new USB-C key appears to have similar functionality to their previous model, all of which are built to the FIDO standard. The USB-C model lacks the NFC capabilities that its other two keys have, but this shouldn’t matter as the USB-C design is meant for you to plug it directly into your portable device, such as phone or ultra-thin laptop. That said, NFC is a bit moot.
Google’s new USB-C key is compatible with Android, Chrome OS, macOS, and Windows devices (Only the Bluetooth key works with iOS, and it requires the installation of Google’s Smart Lock app.) Like its previous keys, Google says the USB-C key’s firmware is permanently sealed into a secure element hardware chip, making the key more resistant to physical attacks.
Google partnered with security key-maker Yubico to manufacture its new USB-C key. Google’s key looks a lot like Yubico’s YubiKey 5C. Both keys are pretty similar, but Yubico’s keys support a few more protocols than Google’s Titan keys do, such as WebAuthn, so they might be the better option for some, depending on what you need.
Google’s other two Titan security keys were previously only available as a $50 bundle, but Google says you’ll be able to buy them individually starting tomorrow. The USB-A / NFC key will cost $25, while the Bluetooth key,
Will “USB juice jacking” trend on Twitter anytime soon? Probably not. Should you be paranoid about USB juice jacking? Probably not.
What is USB juice jacking anyway?
The idea is someone, a hacker, trying to steal your data while you are charging up, or “getting juice” from a public USB port.
Yes, it can technically happen, so don’t be fooled. But could it actually happen? Probably not, so don’t sound like a fool.
Getting down to brass tacks of how this could happen, what would a hacker need to pull it off?
First, they’d need to make a connection, either WiFi or Bluetooth. This connection would transmit your valuable data to the hacker. To do that, the hacker needs some sort of device that holds that communication chip. That chip would need to sit behind the USB port in the string of communication. This “device” would also need power.
Given the above, a quick observation of the USB port you are planning to use, will tell you everything you need to know. So basically if you see a big block with a USB port, don’t plug in your device. If it’s a wall mounted USB port, chances are ultra-slim there is a technology behind the placard stealing your data.
So take airport chairs and charging stations for example; as this is the most comment place a website gives for the “scare.” You are not going to get hacked using those ports. First off, airports are high security areas and those charging stations are monitored. Second, the security cameras will pick up on someone trying to tamper with a charging station or USB port on the chair. Third, the people in the terminal need a boarding pass to get to those spots, so their identity is already known if anything suspicious does turn up.
Now, if we are talking a coffee shop just be sure
We’ve seen these terms floating around in forums and How To’s for years when someone is explaining what to do with USB flash drives. I think most people glaze over the definitions of Clean, Erase and Format simply because they believe the terms are interchangeable, or they aren’t planning on doing the task mentioned in the post.
I hope the following information will clear up some terms and definitions so we can all better understand what people are talking about when passing along information about flash drives and the Clean, Erase and Format function.
All of these functions can be performed in your Windows 10 computer, or higher. I will start with the least complicated definition and task, and move along from there.
This function is what 98% of Windows computer operators will use. This is the graphical interface inside Windows when you right click a drive letter and ask the operating system to format the drive. What is this function really doing?
Format is the least complicated of the tasks, and this function is removing the File Allocation Table of the USB and creating a new one. Said a simpler way… this function takes away the list of files sitting on the drive so it then appears blank with no data.
It’s important to note, the files are still on the drive, just not listed in an easy, organized manor which you can see through windows explorer (clicking on the drive letter to see the list of files).
Using the most basic file recovery software tools, like the one we wrote about several months back, you can recover all the files sitting on the drive.
Maybe a picture will help. Looking at the image below you can see the “data” is light grey. Meaning the data is still there, just not easily accessible. This data is what recovery software will look for, find, and list back on your drive. Also notice the boot code of the USB (if you want to load an operating system on your USB stick) isn’t touched either.
You might have questions if a USB flash drive should be formatted as FAT, FAT32, exFAT or NTFS and we did a great post about that a bit earlier as well.
The Clean function is a bit more in-depth than the format function. This function applies directly to the Master Boot Record (MBR) or boot code mentioned just above.
The Clean function will clear out boot code and will remove any partition on the flash drive. The partition of a flash drive is the information which tells a host computer how big the drive is, and if the partition should be bootable in the event you are trying to start the computer from a flash drive.
The Clean function is not accessible through the GUI of Windows, for example you cannot right click on a drive letter and find the Clean function. The Clean function is only accessible through the Windows utility called DiskPart.