It’s not uncommon to have tens or hundreds of online accounts, so it’s increasingly important to be sure that they’re all safe. Your Gmail account might be at the center of your online identity, so it might be better to take extra steps to make it safer..
The best way to make your Gmail account safer against malicious access attempts is to enable 2-Step Verification (sometimes referred to as 2FA, for Two-Factor Authentication). It might sound a bit scary if you’ve never heard about it, but it’s actually easy to set up and will make a huge difference.
2-Step Verification will add an additional step to login to your account, that only you will be able to perform from your phone.
How to enable 2-Step Verification
- Access your Account Settings, then go to Sign-in & security.
- Scroll down until you see 2-Step Verification, and click on it.
- Now you can just follow the guided procedure to set up this secure authentication. You will be asked to input your password again and then set up your phone.
- After you’re done, you’ll be presented with a few options to authenticate your account. We personally like using the Authenticator app. It will present you with a QR Code that you can scan with a third party authentication app like the very good Authy to authorize logins to your account. You can even scan it with 1Password, which we recommended before, but it’s not good practice the keep your password and your two-factor token in the same place.
Other security tips
- Generate and store a strong password. We recommend 1password.
- Perform Google Security Checkup regularly.
- Make sure your OS and browser are always up to date.
- Check your recovery email address.
- Don’t reuse your Google password on another website, and don’t reuse passwords in general.
- Remove unwanted apps that have access to your account.
One final bonus tip: consider using a free service like have i been pwned to be notified if any of your online accounts are part of a data breach. You can also use email verification and validation services to validate your emails.