I have a laptop with Ubuntu 20.04 operating system. I am logged into my Chrome browser using my Google account. This means, every time I open my browser, I am already logged into all the Google services (Gmail + Chrome browser with all passwords + Photos + ...).
Let's say that someone would steal the laptop and would like to get into my Google account. What the attacker can do is boot his own Ubuntu from a pen drive and see the contents of my home directory. In this directory are, presumably, the login data (.config/ ...) that allow the Chrome browser to authenticate me. The attacker can then just copy this data to his own computer and impersonate me. Or can he?
There are two possible mechanisms that could prevent this:
- Two factor authentication.
Each time I reinstall my system, I am asked for my password and security code. This is true even if my home directory has been left intact during the system re-install. It seems that Google somehow fingerprints the operating system to protect against this type of attack.
- Encryption of the Google login data
I am not sure Ubuntu has a mechanism to do this, but if in fact some data was encrypted by default until you log in to the OS, this would save the day.
Are there some mechanisms that would protect the Google account in case of access to an unencrypted harddrive?