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Google Is Adding Passkey Support for Its Most Vulnerable Users

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The password killers known as “passkeys” are now available to users of Google’s Advanced Protection Program, which works to add an additional layer of account protection for people who fear that they could face targeted digital attacks. The company is more than a year into supporting passkeys for all regular individual accounts and made them the default login option in October. But Google waited to offer passkeys to APP users until it was sure the community was ready to take the step.

APP users typically have a public-facing position or do controversial work. Anyone can enroll for free, but enabling Advanced Protection involves strict requirements for adding multi-factor authentication to an account, which previously involved hardware tokens. With the addition of passkeys, though, APP project manager Shuvo Chatterjee points out that APP’s defensive benefits will now be more usable and accessible to people around the world.

“Security keys are super-duper strong. They are an un-phishable factor,” Chatterjee told WIRED ahead of today’s announcement. “And yet it is still a thing that people have to carry around. They lose it, they cost a lot. So a request that we keep getting from the field is, are there other ways by which we can get the same level of security, but from something that’s more convenient and something we already have? Passkeys are something [that] works with the threat profile that our high-risk users deal with.”

With digital crime and online fraud exploding around the web, tech giants have stepped up their push in recent years to secure accounts and promote passkeys, a cryptographic authentication system, as a more-secure replacement for the scourge of passwords. Passkeys are stored locally on your devices (or can be stored on hardware tokens that support the protocol known as FIDO2) and are guarded by a fingerprint, face scan, or pin. Advanced Protection will also still offer users the option of enabling the service with traditional two-factor authentication where the hardware token is the second factor.

3D rendering of a smartphone with a popup about Advanced Protection being turned on

Courtesy of Google



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CMF Phone 1 Review: A Phenomenal Budget Smartphone

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I’m coming up on 10 years of covering mobile phones, and after some time with the CMF Phone 1, I don’t think I have used a more perfect phone for the money. CMF is a sub-brand by Nothing, founded by Carl Pei of OnePlus fame. It’s been dabbling in ultralow-cost devices, like smartwatches and earbuds, but the CMF Phone 1 is its first Android phone. And it costs $199.

I make it a point to review cheap smartphones—I remember the days when I scrounged every penny I earned to buy my first smartphone, the $200 Samsung Galaxy Captivate in 2010. It’s important to help steer people on a limited budget to good devices. This year alone, I’ve tried the $150 Moto G Play and the $199 Galaxy A15—the latter of which I found to be a disappointing successor to the excellent Galaxy A14 from 2023. But none of these phones hold a candle to the CMF Phone 1, which blows its peers away.

Phenomenal Value

CMF’s design language for the Phone 1 is its first win. This device is far more visually interesting than any other $199 handset in the US. The industrial look comes alive when you embrace the $35 swappable back covers. Use the included screwdriver to pop off the screws and you can change the back to a different color. My choice was orange.

The screwdriver is a bit short, and so it’s a little hard to remove the screws—I can’t imagine changing the back often. This also doesn’t mean you’ll be able to start repairing stuff yourself or swap out the battery—CMF urges customers not to remove the battery without authorization (there’s a warning label on the battery). There’s disappointingly not much here to make repairs easier, unlike HMD’s new Skyline.

CMF Phone by Nothing

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

Part of the fun is the Accessory Point, the little wheel at the right corner of the phone. Remove this thumbscrew and you can affix other accessories, like a lanyard, kickstand, or wallet. My favorite of the lot is the kickstand, and I dare say it doubles as a fidget spinner of sorts. Functional, fun, and nifty! CMF is even encouraging customers to 3D print accessories for it.

But all of these design tricks, while unique, aren’t what makes the CMF Phone 1 special. No, that’s the actual hardware, build, and specs. Instantly, my first impression after booting it up was its speed. In the time I spent with it, I don’t think I noticed any lag or stutters, which is rare on a $199 smartphone. That’s thanks to the MediaTek Dimensity 7300 inside with 8 gigs of RAM, but it also has a lot to do with the optimizations between the hardware and software, which is Nothing OS. (It’s still Android, but Nothing’s layer on the top offers a specific aesthetic with some tweaks, like the completely monochromatic theme on the home screen.)

OK, so no lag. Next, the battery life impressed. I made this my primary device as I traveled to Paris to cover Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event, and I went to bed some nights indifferent about plugging my phone in after seeing it had 50 percent left. That’s with navigation, music streaming via Bluetooth, messaging, and snapping pics. I’ve managed to push the 5,000-mAh battery with heavy usage and bring it down to 30 percent at the end of a day, but with average use, I was regularly getting two days out of it. (I cannot say the same about the $1,100 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip6.)



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NYT Strands hints, answers for July 21

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If you’re reading this, you’re looking for a little help playing Strands, the New York Times‘ elevated word-search game.

By providing an opaque hint and not providing the word list, Strands creates a brain-teasing game that takes a little longer to play than its other games, like Wordle and Connections.

If you’re feeling stuck or just don’t have 10 or more minutes to figure out today’s puzzle, we’ve got all the NYT Strands hints for today’s puzzle you need to progress at your preferred pace.

NYT Strands hint for today’s theme: S-words? (a cutting-edge theme!)

The hint really gets to the point.

Mashable Top Stories

Today’s NYT Strands theme plainly explained

The clue refers to types of swords.

NYT Strands spangram hint: Is it vertical or horizontal?

Today’s NYT Strands spangram is horizontal.

NYT Strands spangram answer today:

Today’s spangram is Blades.

NYT Strands word list for July 21

  • Claymore

  • Scimitar

  • Katana

  • Cutlass

  • Blades

  • Rapier

  • Machete

Looking for other daily online games? Find one you might like – or hints for another game you’re already playing – on Mashable’s Games page.





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The Gamma PS1 emulator for iOS gets Multitap support and better audio

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The Gamma PS1 emulator has gained a number of significant updates since it launched as one of the first console emulators for iPhones in May. Recent updates added a new “Enhance Audio” feature and better multiplayer support, joining other key updates over the last few weeks.

Developer Benjamin Stark (aka ZodTTD) told The Verge in an email that the Enhance Audio feature in his most recent update improves audio “using reverb and interpolation effects.” He also “added Multitap emulation” for games that used Sony’s adapter that expanded the PS1’s controller port count from two to four. (That was used for games like Crash Team Racing, NBA Jam: Tournament Edition, and more.)

In other recent updates, Stark added analog stick support for games that used the Sony Dual Shock controller and the ability to switch discs without going back to the main menu for multidisc games like Metal Gear Solid. He also introduced a new “Pro” upgrade for $4.99 that turns ads off entirely.



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