Google has been a spokesman for technologies that can prevent unwanted attempts to log into user accounts, and now it requires employees to use physical security keys in addition to entering their passwords. The additional layer of verification is meant to prevent cases of phishing, so hackers get personal information through fraudulent messages.
Titan does not only look like Feitian's keys but also strongly resembles US-based USB keys, called Yubico, which can be used to sign in to Google's Gmail service, as well as Dropbox, GitHub and other web services.
But Yubico's Managing Director, Stina Ehrensvard, made it clear in a blog post that Titan was not made by Yubico. Ehrensvard also criticized certain aspects of keys using Bluetooth.
"While Yubico previously started the development of a BLE [Bluetooth Low Energy] security key and contributed to the BLE U2F standard work, we decided not to start the product as it did not meet our standards of security, usability and durability," wrote Ehrensvard, which has offices in Sweden and California. "BLE does not provide the security levels of NFC and USB, and requires batteries and connectivity that gives a poor user experience."
In a blog post on Thursday that announced the availability of Titan keys via Google's online store, Product Manager Christiaan Brand said that Google firmware was sealed in special chips delivered to the production line. "The trust of the Titan Security Key is anchored in the sealed chip as opposed to other later steps that take place during unit production," Brand wrote.
Feitian has shared some social media messages refers to Google since the Titan announcement but had not published a statement about Google collaboration. Feitian did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Google's own site for signing up in its "Advanced Protection" plan currently suggests that US people buy a factual wireless key and a Yubico USB key through Amazon if they do not. I already have two security keys. However, these keys are not specifically marketed under the Google Titan brand name.