Google Disables Internet Access for Thousands of Its Employees – Google has initiated a pilot program to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks, wherein thousands of its employees will have their internet access limited. This measure involves restricting access to external websites and tools, allowing access only to Google-owned websites and internal web tools like Docs and Drive.
Additionally, certain employees will have their root access restricted, preventing them from installing software or running administrative commands on their PCs. Originally, 2,500 employees were chosen for the pilot, but after receiving feedback, participants were given the option to opt out. Google employees can also voluntarily join the program if they are willing to sacrifice their internet access. CNBC has reported on this development.
According to an internal description of the pilot seen by CNBC, the reason for the experiment is because “Googlers are frequent targets of attacks.” No internet access means the threat of a cyberattack being successful is reduced, but Google has over 178,000 employees around the world following its round of 12,000 job cuts earlier this year.
“Ensuring the safety of our products and users is one of our top priorities,” Google said in a statement. “We routinely explore ways to strengthen our internal systems against malicious attacks.” In the past year, there was a significant increase in cyberattacks aimed at critical infrastructure, prompting businesses, including Google, to take precautions in case they become targets.
Google has been proactive in its approach to security by mandating multi-factor authentication for its employees. As early as 2017, the company distributed physical security keys to all of its 85,000 employees. As a result of these measures, Google reported that, one year after implementing the security keys, no employees had experienced any confirmed instances of work-related account takeovers.