4 steps you should take to secure your Gmail account right away
From bank statements to personal letters, and even password reset requests, your Gmail account holds an abundance of personal information. If someone were to access it, they’d effectively have access to the rest of your online identity.
Instead of just hoping that hackers don’t find you, take 10 minutes and secure your Gmail account right now.
Use a strong password
I suspect we’re all guilty of reusing simple passwords at some point — I admit that I used to. But reusing passwords across multiple sites and services is just asking for your accounts to be hacked. All it takes is a leak or breach at one service, and hackers will begin trying to sign in to all of your accounts.
It’s time to step up your password game. Use unique, randomly generated passwords, for every online account you have. Keeping track of all those passwords is easy when you use a password manager. We have a roundup of the best password managers available, both free and paid, if you need help with deciding which one to use.
To change your Google account password, visit the Google account security page and click on Password under the Signing in to Google section. Verify your password if prompted, then enter your new password — generated by your password manager — and click Change password.
Enable two-step verification
Without two-step verification, also commonly called two-factor authentication, hackers only need your password to access your entire Google account — including YouTube, Gmail and Google Pay. And remember, if you reuse the same password for multiple services, they could get it from a data breach or through a phishing scam.
With two-step verification, sometimes called two-factor authentication, hackers would need your password and a randomly generated six-digit passcode or physical access to your phone before they could gain access to your account.
Turn on 2SV by visiting your Google account security page and clicking on 2-Step Verification.
Follow the prompts until you reach the section in the screenshot above. Once there, decide whether you want to receive push alerts in the Gmail app to approve login requests (the default option), or if you want to use random passcodes. Using alerts in the Gmail app is easier, but it means you have to have your phone nearby at all times. You’ll also need a connection to approve the alert. So, if you’re somewhere where you have no bars — like on a plane, for instance — you’ll need to be connected to Wi-Fi.
If you choose to use a passcode, you can receive it via text message or access it in a password manager. I use a password manager to manage my 2SV codes so I can access the codes on any device, regardless of whether I have a data connection on my phone.
If you opt to use alerts, click Try it now. You should receive an alert on the phone that was listed on the screen. Follow the rest of the prompts to complete setup.
If you want to use passcodes, however, click on Choose another option and then Text message or voice call…Read more>>