Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
User avatar
linenfort
Posts: 2153
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by linenfort » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:42 pm

I just received Google's version of the Yubikey, the Titan Key.
This is a USB key for two-factor authentication (2fa) for those of us who desire 2fa without a phone number.
[Edited to add: there is also a bluetooth key and two adapters for tinier devices in the package. I'd take a photo, but I'm boxing the thing up for a refund. :happy ]

The good news is, it works.
The bad news is, I don't see a way to turn off the 2fa requirement for trusted devices while leaving it on for everything else. It appears to be either all on or all off, but I'm holding out hope that I'm mistaken. [Edit: Solved. Also, see warning about Firefox].

But, I don't want to have to use this every time I want to check email on my regular computer. Maybe I can just leave it plugged in all day?

With Vanguard, I've been using 2fa via a one-time code sent to my mobile phone, but only when I'm not on my main computer.
Am I making sense?
Is the Yubikey like this?
Last edited by linenfort on Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:52 am, edited 2 times in total.
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

HappyWorkerBee
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 9:31 pm

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by HappyWorkerBee » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:56 pm

I haven't tried titan key. However, in the past when I used a physical key for 2fa I had to use it every time I signed in to my account.
This is why yubikey has a tiny form factor version so you can leave it plugged in to a usb port all the time.

User avatar
linenfort
Posts: 2153
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by linenfort » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:05 pm

Thank you for the reply. I found the answer to my question. (phew).
Ask Google to remember your computer
After you’ve signed in with your key, you can sign in with just your password. Follow these steps only for a computer that you use regularly and don't share with anyone else.

Sign in to your Google Account.
Check the box next to "Don’t ask again on this computer."
Finish signing in with your security key.
If anyone tries to sign in to your account from another computer, we’ll ask for your security key.
https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/1064203
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

JohnFiscal
Posts: 621
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:28 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by JohnFiscal » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:19 pm

As the OP has found, it is up to the individual site using the 2FA (eg: Google, Vanguard, Facebook, etc) as to whether or not they will require the key to be activated for every log-in. This is not a function of the Google key or the Yubi keys.

Editing to add: It's a good idea to have 2 keys, or alternative methods of logging in with the 2FA. Just in case a key is lost or broken.

Editing again to add: some sites make it a lot more apparent that you can save the browser or the computer for subsequent log-ins without the key (unless you reset something locally). I'm not a fan/user of Facebook but I did set up an old account there to use my Yubi keys and I especially like how they present this information to you with each log-in, asking you if you want them to recognize "the browser" subsequently. It is just especially clear versus other sites.

User avatar
linenfort
Posts: 2153
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by linenfort » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:52 pm

JohnFiscal wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:19 pm
Editing again to add: some sites make it a lot more apparent that you can save the browser or the computer for subsequent log-ins without the key
Interesting that you mentioned browsers. I thought I would test another "computer" by signing in via another browser, but it would not work.
It kept saying something like "There's a problem. Want to try again?"

I gave up and tried the same browser, but this time on a tablet. This time it wouldn't even let me try a key, though there are adapters and bluetooth keys included (so lack of a USB receptacle was not the issue).

The browser was Firefox.

I just found this:
(Google tells me support for third-party browsers is still in development, all you Firefoxers).
This is from 9.6.18
https://www.fastcompany.com/90232158/i- ... le-workers
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

User avatar
MP123
Posts: 805
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:32 pm

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by MP123 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:47 pm

If you leave the key plugged in all the time and someone steals your computer they have your 2fa too, right?

mpsz
Posts: 302
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by mpsz » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:54 pm

linenfort wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:52 pm

Interesting that you mentioned browsers. I thought I would test another "computer" by signing in via another browser, but it would not work.
It kept saying something like "There's a problem. Want to try again?"

I gave up and tried the same browser, but this time on a tablet. This time it wouldn't even let me try a key, though there are adapters and bluetooth keys included (so lack of a USB receptacle was not the issue).

The browser was Firefox.
Firefox has experimental, opt-in support for u2f. I actually just found this at work today as I am trying to abandon Google Chrome after some of the recent changes they made. I got the same error message as you until I enabled it, and it works perfectly.

https://www.yubico.com/2017/11/how-to-n ... x-quantum/ (scroll down about half way)

aqan
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:07 am

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by aqan » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:56 pm

MP123 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:47 pm
If you leave the key plugged in all the time and someone steals your computer they have your 2fa too, right?
I'm guessing they still have to know your password to get in.

User avatar
linenfort
Posts: 2153
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by linenfort » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:42 pm

mpsz wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:54 pm
Firefox has experimental, opt-in support for u2f. I actually just found this at work today as I am trying to abandon Google Chrome after some of the recent changes they made. I got the same error message as you until I enabled it, and it works perfectly.

https://www.yubico.com/2017/11/how-to-n ... x-quantum/ (scroll down about half way)
Huh. Thank you for that! I doubt it’ll work with Titan but it’s worth a try tomorrow.
MP123 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:47 pm
If you leave the key plugged in all the time and someone steals your computer they have your 2fa too, right?
In addition to what aqan said, I would only do that on a desktop at home. If they gain access to that, I have bigger problems. :o
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

aqan
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:07 am

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by aqan » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:00 pm

linenfort wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:42 pm
mpsz wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:54 pm
Firefox has experimental, opt-in support for u2f. I actually just found this at work today as I am trying to abandon Google Chrome after some of the recent changes they made. I got the same error message as you until I enabled it, and it works perfectly.

https://www.yubico.com/2017/11/how-to-n ... x-quantum/ (scroll down about half way)
Huh. Thank you for that! I doubt it’ll work with Titan but it’s worth a try tomorrow.
MP123 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:47 pm
If you leave the key plugged in all the time and someone steals your computer they have your 2fa too, right?
In addition to what aqan said, I would only do that on a desktop at home. If they gain access to that, I have bigger problems. :o
keeping it plugged in beats the purpose. Ideally the key and your computer will both have NFC, that way you put the key next to your computer when you need and take it with you when you walk away from computer... but then you run the risk of losing the key by dropping it :)

User avatar
MP123
Posts: 805
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:32 pm

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by MP123 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:14 pm

aqan wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:56 pm
MP123 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:47 pm
If you leave the key plugged in all the time and someone steals your computer they have your 2fa too, right?
I'm guessing they still have to know your password to get in.
But they could likely recover the password via the attached 2FA key. Depending on the site I guess.

aqan
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:07 am

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by aqan » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:53 pm

MP123 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:14 pm
aqan wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:56 pm
MP123 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:47 pm
If you leave the key plugged in all the time and someone steals your computer they have your 2fa too, right?
I'm guessing they still have to know your password to get in.
But they could likely recover the password via the attached 2FA key. Depending on the site I guess.
I haven't used this particular one but generally the 2FA key gives you and additional "password" to enter along with your regular password.
Your regular password is completely disconnected from 2FA.

Afty
Posts: 848
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:31 pm

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by Afty » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:29 pm

MP123 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:14 pm
aqan wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:56 pm
MP123 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:47 pm
If you leave the key plugged in all the time and someone steals your computer they have your 2fa too, right?
I'm guessing they still have to know your password to get in.
But they could likely recover the password via the attached 2FA key. Depending on the site I guess.
No, that’s not how it works. It’s called 2 factor authentication because you need something you know (password) and something you have (security key) to log in. If you only have one factor, you can’t recover the other.

User avatar
linenfort
Posts: 2153
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by linenfort » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:40 am

@mpsz - it worked! Three simple steps, and firefox quantum can handle the titan key for gmail!

Thank you for saving me from boxing this up and returning it!
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

User avatar
linenfort
Posts: 2153
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by linenfort » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:57 am

Found myself locked out of Google on all browsers on my ipad.
Yeah, I'm turning off 2fa for now and returning my key to Google. Maybe I'll go back to a phone for 2fa.
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

lostdog
Posts: 1297
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:15 pm

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by lostdog » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:15 am

Google has an authenticator app also. It also works with Amazon.

I had to scan the code Amazon provided using my phone and the Google auth app.

michaeljc70
Posts: 3926
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:23 am

The Titan Key comes with a bluetooth version as far as I know. So, it comes with 2 keys and one can be a backup. You don't need to plug it in. Put it on your keychain and keep it near the computer. As others pointed out, leaving it plugged in somewhat defeats the purpose. If your computer doesn't have bluetooth you can buy a USB bluetooth adapter for under $20.

User avatar
linenfort
Posts: 2153
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by linenfort » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:03 am

Forgot to mention, this may have something to do with updating to IOS 12.
linenfort wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:57 am
Found myself locked out of Google on all browsers on my ipad.
Yeah, I'm turning off 2fa for now and returning my key to Google. Maybe I'll go back to a phone for 2fa.
michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:23 am
The Titan Key comes with a bluetooth version as far as I know.
You're a bit late. Read the October 10th 4:19 timestamped post(s). /My mistake. 4:52
Last edited by linenfort on Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

michaeljc70
Posts: 3926
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:16 am

linenfort wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:03 am
Forgot to mention, this may have something to do with updating to IOS 12.
linenfort wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:57 am
Found myself locked out of Google on all browsers on my ipad.
Yeah, I'm turning off 2fa for now and returning my key to Google. Maybe I'll go back to a phone for 2fa.
michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:23 am
The Titan Key comes with a bluetooth version as far as I know.
You're a bit late. Read the October 10th 4:19 timestamped post(s).
I'm not sure what I am late for. That post says "It's a good idea to have 2 keys, or alternative methods of logging in with the 2FA. Just in case a key is lost or broken.". I am saying that you get two keys with the Titan. I don't see any mention of bluetooth in any posts. The original post, as I read it, was part review of the Titan key and part asking a question about it. There were follow ups raising additional questions.

User avatar
linenfort
Posts: 2153
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by linenfort » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:26 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:16 am
I'm not sure what I am late for.
Sorry, I'm not trying to start anything with you.

The other post with that timestamp is by me and it does in fact mention the bluetooth key. It is also quoted later in the thread. If you just do a Ctrl+F search for "bluetooth" on this page...

I never had an opportunity to use it, though. Google sent me one of those scary messages that they cannot verify that the account belongs to me. (Never mind the fact that I can still access gmail on the same device using the official app). No opportunity to use a bluetooth key, no chance to use backup codes, no phone calls or texts, no one-time "App passwords" which would probably be the ideal solution in this case, no nothing).
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

michaeljc70
Posts: 3926
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:32 am

linenfort wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:26 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:16 am
I'm not sure what I am late for.
Sorry, I'm not trying to start anything with you.

The other post with that timestamp is by me and it does in fact mention the bluetooth key. It is also quoted later in the thread. If you just do a Ctrl+F search for "bluetooth" on this page...

I never had an opportunity to use it, though. Google sent me one of those scary messages that they cannot verify that the account belongs to me. (Never mind the fact that I can still access gmail on the same device using the official app). No opportunity to use a bluetooth key, no chance to use backup codes, no phone calls or texts, no one-time "App passwords" which would probably be the ideal solution in this case, no nothing).
The post at 4:52 mentions Bluetooth. You referred to the post at 4:19.

User avatar
linenfort
Posts: 2153
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by linenfort » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:33 am

You're right. Sorry about that. I searched for "bluetooth" and copied the quoted timestamp.
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

michaeljc70
Posts: 3926
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:38 am

linenfort wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:33 am
You're right. Sorry about that. I searched for "bluetooth" and copied the quoted timestamp.
NP. I didn't see the mention of bluetooth when I skimmed the comments.

User avatar
linenfort
Posts: 2153
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:22 am
Location: #96151D

Re: Google's Titan Key for 2fa

Post by linenfort » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:54 am

Account recovered, thank heavens.
I'm still returning the keys. Not perfected yet.
linenfort wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:26 am
Google sent me one of those scary messages that they cannot verify that the account belongs to me.
bogleheads, don't knock state lotteries. They helped defund the mafia.

Post Reply