Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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Way back in time when we were young and free (in college) many things caught our scattered attention. One of those many things was how a senior in college was able to hack our email accounts. Later on, we realized that he was using software to log our key strokes (while we logged into our e-mail accounts on PCs at college). Right then, the magic of the amazing “hacking” business evaporated.

Many years later, having grown older and having lost more of our free time we are susceptible to the next generation of key logging software and more importantly, the next generation of hackers. To help you thwart these in some way, we provided an article on reducing the risk of hacking and phishing. In this article, we show you how you can make your Google account more secure using some security features which Google has recently released. The best part of the deal is that Google offers this extra blanket of security free of cost, as it does many of its other services. Having a phone near you while you log in is the only prerequisite. Once you set up the 2-step verification system of Google, you will need to supply your user name and password as usual and a verification code sent to or generated by your mobile device. The steps to set this up await you past the break.

Follow these steps to fortify your Google account:

Step 1: Go to your Google accounts page (or click https://www.google.com/accounts/ManageAccount if you are logged in to Google) and click the link highlighted in the image below.

account settings page

Step 2: Setup what type of phone you want to use to receive or generate your verification codes. We will use a standard mobile phone for simplicity’s sake. It is possible to use an Android, iPhone, Blackberry, your standard mobile phone or even your land line for this purpose. After you enter your phone number Google will verify if the phone number is yours and you will be requested to enter the code which will be sent as an SMS.

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Step 3: Once the phone is verified, Google will provide a set of backup verification codes in case your phone stops working for some reason. These codes can be printed and stored in a convenient place like your wallet. Please remember that each of these backup codes is valid for single use only.

Step 4: Next, Google asks you for a backup phone in case the primary one fails. You can even provide a land line number.

Step 5: Google has designed one time application-specific passwords to be used instead of verification codes. These are to be used with mobile Gmail, desktop Picasa and some other applications.

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Step 6: Google will sign you out of all active sessions and you will be asked to log-in with the new 2-step verification system. An application-specific password can be generated the first time you log-in using the 2 step verification system.

Note: Google allows you to switch off 2 step verification at any time by accessing the google accounts page.

Not convinced that you need to take this extra security measure? Read on for the reasons why you should make use of this extra security feature:

1. Logging into your Google account would require a powerful combination of your password and a code obtained from your personal phone. A hacker would require both these to log-in to your account which we feel is highly improbable.

2. This kind of advanced technology was previously available for high level banking transactions. It is now available to you free of cost. Why waste it.

3. Considering what people store in their Google accounts nowadays which may include credit card details, bank account numbers and passwords and certain other personal information, the value of your Google account maybe more than you think.

We at The Indian Geek strongly recommend you to use this extra level of protection to safe guard the contents of your Google account and keep hackers at bay. Like we said in our previous article, prevention is better than cure. This extra step for the sake of “security” causes more work from us, but it keeps our accounts secure. That’s worth anything, isn’t it?

 

Source: Gmail Blog

3 comments:

Robin Richard Rajan said...

Thanks for the detailed instructions! Now my account is safer than ever!!

The Indian Geek said...

Thank you, Robin. We like it when everyone utilises such safety measures!

Madhu Sinha said...

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