There’s a good chance that your Google account houses tons of valuable personal information. If you use Gmail as your email client, Chrome for browsing the web or have an Android phone, you’re using Google a whole lot more than you may realize. That said, you’ll want your account to be as secure as possible.
6 Steps to a Secure Google Account
1. Create a Strong Password
Your password is your first line of defense. Predictable passwords are among the leading causes of data compromises on the Internet.
Never set a password that is easy to guess, and never use the same password for two different accounts. To learn how to set a strong password (that you’ll actually remember), check out this blog we wrote a while back.
2. Set a Recovery Phone and Email
The next step to securing your account is to set a recovery phone number and email address. This way, if a hacker successfully compromises your account, you’ll be able to get it back. Your secondary email will also receive a notification each time your Google account is logged into on a new device, so you’ll be aware of any suspicious activity.
You can set your recovery phone number and email address at this page.
3. 2-Step Verification
In an effort to combat the growing issue of account theft, Google introduced 2-step verification, which requires users to enter a code that’s sent to their phones each time they log into their account. It may sound tedious, but it certainly beats having your account hacked.
To enable 2-step verification on Google, just go to this setup page and follow the instructions. Now you’ve got an added layer of security to keep hackers out.
4. Disable “Allow Less Secure Apps”
When third-party apps try to access your account, they are blocked by default. However, if you enabled the “Allow less secure apps” option at any point, those apps will be able to get in.
To make sure it’s disabled, go to “My Account,” and then click on “Connected apps & sites.” Scroll down to the “Allow less secure apps” section, and make sure it’s turned off.
5. Revoke Authorized Access
If you hadn’t had “Allow less secure apps” disabled, it’s very possible that you may have accidentally granted permission for third-party websites or apps to access your account. Most of the time, you won’t even realize that they have access to your account until you’re notified of suspicious activity.
Follow the steps on this page to remove any unauthorized third-party access to your account.
6. Scan for Viruses and Malware
If your computer has been infected with a virus or malware, it’s possible that is has gleaned the login credentials of all of your accounts, including your Google one.
After you’ve removed a virus or malware from your computer, update your password and recovery information in case it has been stolen by a hacker for later usage.
Take these steps to securing your Google account and minimize the amount of cybersecurity compromises you have to deal with. They’re certainly not fun!