Google Now Requires JavaScript for Account Logins

Google Now Requires JavaScript for Account Logins

You certainly take measures to make sure no one breaks into your home, but someone breaking into your critical online accounts can be almost as bad. Google has added a new layer of security to account logins that seems at first like it could be a security problem of its own. Starting now, Google requires JavaScript in order to log into your account via a web browser. Google says it’s for your own good, though.

If you attempt to sign into Google without JavaScript, you’ll just get an error message explaining that “The browser you’re using doesn’t support JavaScript.” In reality, you’ve probably just turned it off. You’ll have to turn it on, switch to another browser, or only access your Google account via mobile apps. You can turn JavaScript back off after you’ve logged in, though.

JavaScript is an integral part of the modern web, but it can also introduce new security threats. However, Google says it doesn’t think there will be a major issue — only 0.1 percent of Google users shut JavaScript off. A lot of sites are entirely broken without JavaScript, so Google is far from alone here.

Google says its use of JavaScript can help keep your account safe even before you’ve logged in. The mysterious “assessment” utilizes JavaScript to detect suspicious behavior that could indicate your account details have been compromised. Google isn’t talking about what exactly it’s looking for in the assessment, and it likely won’t provide more details. It’s better the internet ne’er-do-wells don’t know how Google secures accounts. Presumably, it has something to do with how text is entered.

The error message that appears if you try to log into your account without JavaScript.
The error message that appears if you try to log into your account without JavaScript.

Alongside the new JavaScript-authenticated sign-ins, Google also added tools to alert you to potential security issues after you’ve logged in. There’s an automatic security checkup that suggests ways to harden your account. For example, it might recommend activating two-factor authentication or making sure your mobile devices have a secure lock screen enabled. Google also has a revamped account verification system in the event someone does gain access. You can see what account settings have changed and check activity on payment methods in your account.

The JavaScript and new security monitoring tools started rolling out to all accounts on Oct. 31, which wasn’t only Halloween. It was also the last day of Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

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