Archive for September 15th, 2011

Making your Gmail and Google account more secure

September 15th, 2011 1 comment

Making your Gmail and Google account more secure – A 5 point checklist.

Have you ever gave a thought what will it be like, if our Gmail or Google accounts password is compromised?? For a person like me who keeps backup of all important document, research papers, links, photos (the ones you cannot keep on home computer too :-) ) and nearly everything on the Google cloud. Most of us have no idea where and in what form my data is stored there but still I trust Google more then my personal laptop. We use so many applications like Gmail, Google docs, Picasa, Orkut but hey all share your same Google accounts password, and if that gets compromised it’ll be like tsunami for us, and with the number of hackers (including the ethical ones :-) ) growing in this world, the probability of it becomes pretty high. People can hack using a
network level attack, or using a poor password recovery options or if you think you are too intelligent to use your vehicle name or girlfriend/boyfriend name as password, your hacker friend will not take much time to prove that you a ‘@#$#@$’.
Well coming to the point, “How to make your Gmail and Google accounts more secure”. There is no special trick or hack to do so. It’s just that Google has provided you many features and options to do so; you have to use them in right way. Here is the check list of options you should use, to insure that your google accounts is safe enough.

1.) Use a secure connection when signing in – Google uses https by default but to make sure that Google uses https always, use the
“Always use https” option in “Browser connection:” under “General” Tab in Settings of your Gmail.

This will make sure that your user credentials are passed in encrypted form which will prevent network level attacks.

2.) Change your password regularly – With ’123456′ as the most commonly used password in this world you should start using a combination of numbers,characters, and case-sensitive letters for your password and avoid dictionary words. (Even if your dear one’s name is not there in dictionary avoid using such passwords :) )

3.) Update your account recovery options – Make sure that your Recovery email address is correct and you are still using it. It’s
really important as I have seen a case where a person’s recovery email id was never used and expired, which was available for anyone to take. Make sure to add your mobile number as Google can send you a recovery code via SMS, which can very handy. Last recovery option is the ‘Secret Question’ which is only available if you have not signed in during past 24 hours. The answer to the security question should be hard for others to guess, so better choose a difficult secret question and make sure you yourself remember the password :-) .

4.) Turn on 2-step verification - This option adds up one more factor of authentication (Two factor authentication) to your Google accounts. Two factor authentication implies the use of two independent means of evidence to assert an entity, rather than two iterations of the same means. Usually “Something one knows”, “something one has”, and “something one is” are useful simple summaries of three independent factors. For 2-step verification Google uses a verification code which is time specific. If you Turn on this option for your Google accounts, each time you try to login, a Google verification code will be asked(You can remember it for a computer). The next question may be how to get this verification code?? The answer is that Google provides many ways to get this verification code. You can install a mobile application to access this code, or Google can send you a SMS containing the code, and the last option is that you can print some static codes and keep then someplace accessible, like your wallet. You can turn on 2-step verification using this link “”. Try to subscribe to all the ways from which you can get your verification code as not all are accessible everytime. For example there may be a case where in you have subscribed to SMS as a way of accessing verification code, in this case if you forget to take your mobile somewhere you will not be able to access your google account.

5.) Keep monitoring your account details – Check the lists of websites that are authorized to access your Google account data. Go to My Account > Authorizing applications and sites. You’ll see the list of all third-party sites you’ve granted access to. If you see a website to which you think you have not granted the access, immediately revoke the access for that site. Second thing you should monitor is the ‘Last Account Activity’. At the bottom right of your page you’ll see ‘Last account activity’ with a link for details. By clicking on that link you can monitor, how many sessions are presently open with Access type, location and time of access.

Don’t forget to visit Google security tips and Gmail security checklist from Google for further information.
Reference :
Google security tips :
Gmail Security Checklist :
Two-Factor Aunthentication from Wikipedia

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