Settings to Secure Your Email Right Now
Our emails hold the most sensitive details we have as humans. From bank statements to personal letters, password reset request, among other vital information, there’s no doubt that emails have just too much sensitive information.
If any perpetrator was to access it, they’d effectively have access to all of your online identity. Instead of being on the edge, how about securing your Gmail account?
Here are effective ways to secure your Gmail account effectively:
Use a Strong Password
We are all guilty of reusing simple passwords at some point in our lives. Reusing the same password across multiple sits and services is asking for your account to be hacked. All it takes is a simple leak and hackers will try signing to all your accounts.
If this is the case, then you have to upgrade your password game. Just use unique, randomly generated passwords for every online account you have. Keeping track of those passwords will even be much easier when you use a password manager. Password managers are like LastPass, 1Password, Bitwarden, Dashlane, etc.
To change a Google account password, visit the Google account security page and click on “Password” under the “Signing in to Google” section. Verify the password if prompted, then enter the new password generated by the password manager and click “Change Password”
Enable 2-Step Verification
Without two-step verification (two-factor authentication), hackers only require your password to access your entire Google account – including YouTube, Gmail and Google Pay. Reuse the same password on multiple services will only expose you to the hackers and a possible data breach could happen. Always be aware of hacking tactics such as the phishing scam.
With two-step verification, hackers require your password and a randomly generated six-digit passcode or physical access to your phone before they could gain access to your account. To use your phone as your second sign-in step, Google will send a secure notification to your phone as your second factor during 2-step verification. All devices signed to your Google Account will get prompts so you can control which phones get prompts in your 2-step verification settings.
Simply follow the prompts and choose whether you want to receive push alerts in the Gmail app to approve login requests, or if you want to use random passcodes. Using alerts in the Gmail app is quite easier but it means that you have to have your phone nearby at all times. One needs a connection to approve the alert so you have to be aware of surroundings.
If you’d like to pass a code, you can receive it via text message or access it from password manager. You can use a password manager to manage your 2 Step Verification codes so that you can access the codes on any device no matter what; even if you have no data connection.
If you opt for alerts, click “Try it now” and you’ll receive an alert on the phone that was listed on the screen. Follow the prompts and complete the step. If you want to use passcodes, click on “Choose another option” and then “Text message or voice call.” Simply enter your phone number and enter the code to activate two-step verification. After entering the code and clicking a few more buttons, 2 Step Verification will be turned on.
The 2 Step Verification via texted passcodes is more secure as opposed to not using 2 Step verification at all. You can use push alerts if possible. SIM-swap fraud is becoming too common and allows hackers to take charge of your phone and receive 2 step verification codes sent to your number.
If you must rely on passcodes, take some minutes to set up an Authenticator app for your Google account. You can use Googles’ authenticator app or a password manager. Click Set Up under the Authenticator app section and select the type of phone you use. Use your preferred app to scan the QR code and enter the passcode generated by your app to verify that all is set up properly.
Check Your Backup Contact Methods
Ever since you set up a Google account, you have most likely changed your phone/phone number a few times, or forgot about a certain email account. It’s always a brilliant idea to double-check your backup contact methods. This is what Google uses in case you get locked out of your account to verify you’re the account owner. Go to the Security page and look for the section titled “Ways we can verify it’s you.”
Click on each section – Recovery phone, Recovery email and Security question – and update them with current information. If this information is out of date and you get locked out of your account, Google won’t verify you own the account.
Look at Account Activity
Hackers can also access your account without your knowledge. To check, sign in to your Gmail account and scroll to the bottom of the page. You’ll see a line saying, “Last account activity”.
At the end of that line, click “Details” to see when, how and where your account is being used. If you suspect any foul activity, click on the button labeled Sign out of all other Gmail web sessions and immediately change your password.