New Google API Will Securely Verify Chrome Devices

Google announced a new feature and administration serverside API for the Chrome OS called Verified Access. This API will cryptographically validate the identity of any Chrome OS device that has connected to an enterprise’s network. Additionally, it will allow the enterprise to verify that any connected devices conform to the company’s security policies.

The new Google API uses digital certificates stored in the hardware-based Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) that are found in every Chrome OS device. The TPM creates a way to ensure the correct security state of the devices has not been altered.

Normal security policy checks will look for inconsistencies and red flags, but the results of the check may be invalid if the device has been compromised. That’s the problem Verified Access is trying to address.

The Magic of Google API

The cloud-based Google Admin console can help enterprises assess networks, servers and intranet pages that use mutual TLS-based authentication through the Verified Access API. The API is designed to allow a network service, such as a VPN gateway or an enterprise certificate authority (CA), to obtain a hardware-backed cryptographic guarantee of the identities of the device and user trying to access it.

The API doesn’t do its magic for free, however. A Google page said the network service endpoint must be configured specifically for the API to be valid. End users will need to install a special extension on their Chrome OS devices to start.

Network services that need to be protected must also understand the Verified Access protocol. Their services must change how they work to allow for the new API. For this reason, Google encouraged security services to integrate their products with the API.

Through the proper use of the API, enterprises will be able to assure that Chrome OS users have the proper verified boot mode device policy or user policy, since they are specified by the domain’s admin.

New Smart Card Authorization

Google also brought Smart Vard Authentication support to Chrome devices. This is the standard way of authenticating employees in many security-sensitive organizations.

It plays off Citrix Receiver for Chrome 2.1. Users can now authenticate to virtualized Citrix apps using smart cards. They can use single sign-on, login once to their Chromebooks, and then be authenticated across Citrix and virtualized Windows apps.

Larry Loeb

Principal, PBC Enterprises

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other...