PSA: The Elimination Of Third-Party LSAs Access To Google Accounts And Sync

Written By Bicom Systems Team

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Due to Google’s continuous efforts in combating account theft and security breaches in general, we are going to be seeing a few new changes starting September 2024.

The change in question is the sunsetting of simple password authentication and LSA and replacing it with the OAuth framework.

This will affect a few features in the Bicom Product Suite, namely the email2fax and the Google Cloud Storage archiving feature.

But, do not worry as our teams have devised a solution to this change and Google was gracious enough to give us all plenty of time to make the change happen.

So, let us see what it is that we can expect with swapping to OAuth going forward, how to make the switch, and how these changes may impact different aspects of the market going forward.

the benefits of oauth

OAuth, or more specifically OAuth 2.0, is an open-standard authorization protocol that enables users to give access to their credentials to apps or websites without ever actually giving login information away throughout the transaction, minimizing risk of said passwords getting found in security breaches and used by malicious actors later down the line.

How It Works

The way it does this is through the use of authorization tokens that are used to authorize the needed service, and secrets that serve as signatures from the initial user that prevent malicious actors from faking the initial user’s identity and masquerading as them.

The Reason Behind The Change

The reason behind it was not to purposely mess up the services that we use. It was done as just one of many security updates needed to combat the growing threat that hackers and other malicious actors pose to cyber security.

Some of the most vulnerable targets were LSAs (Less Secure Apps) which used simple password authentication which made it easy for said malicious actors to extract whole lists of passwords from a single security breach, compromising innumerable accounts in the process.

OAuth removes the need for password storage entirely, acting as an extra layer of defense for user internet safety.

Only two services that the Bicom platform utilizes are affected with this change: email2fax, and the Google Cloud Storage archiving feature.

Their services will remain usable until September 2024 when OAuth becomes enforced by all Google services.

Thankfully, this change was announced a few years back and has given us enough time to prepare measures to prevent the loss of feature functionality for these two features in particular as we have adjusted our infrastructure to support the OAuth sign-in method, a change which we have introduced in v7.2 of our product suite.

This does mean that all users will have to update to v7.2 to retain use of the email2fax and the Google Cloud Storage archiving feature functionalities.

“We have developed both the solution to the problem at hand as well as a foundation for future innovation with the OAuth protocol”

Keep in mind that this is not some one-time fix that we have implemented. We have made full use of our time developing both the solution to the current issue as well as a foundation for future innovation with the OAuth open-standard authentication protocol, be it from our own research or competitor creations that may spark some ideas on our own end.

We will also be taking customer feedback into account regarding its introduction and continued use, look at what works and what doesn’t and compile it into a shape that makes the most sense for our product.

We understand that there are users which rely on older versions of our products to run their business and we feel for them, but this is something that, unfortunately, cannot be avoided if these businesses wish to retain the use of the two aforementioned features after September 2024.

However, they can rest assured in knowing that our support team will do everything that they can to have the transitioning process be as smooth as possible for them with minimal service downtime or any other hiccups.

“OAuth 2.0 is the industry-standard protocol for authorization”

Source: OAuth

This may seem like an isolated case, but know that this is not something exclusive to us. OAuth adoption is becoming a growing trend in the industry and is set to become the norm, hence our insistence on having all current clients and users update to v7.2.

It is not our goal to force clients out of their comfort zone and move them over to a more modern version of the product, but the fact of the matter is that the existing market is likely to start avoiding LSAs en masse and will flock to options that utilize OAuth.

This means that alternatives will soon start requesting the same update requirement that we are.

We have taken the courtesy to alert our clients ahead of time and to enable the feature in v7.2 to allow them time to adjust to the changes as well as to ensure them that we strive to always keep up with the latest security advancements to maximize their safety when using our products.

Such impactful decisions are not something Bicom Systems does lightly. A lot of thought goes into the whole process before we decide to go through with it and it is never our intent to obscure changes from our users.

As with everything that came before, if any changes in functionality occur in affected features or other existing and future ones, we will be sure to update our product documentation as well as adjust product training procedures accordingly.

As always, we thank you for bearing with us and hope that you see the long-term benefits that this change is going to bring to user and business safety overall. Until next time.