Internet security is no laughing matter and it’s only going to become more and more important over the coming years.
More and more of our information is online these days and increasingly this is where we manage our relationships, our finances and our commerce.
That makes it incredibly important that we be vigilant to protect all the information we’re putting out there and especially in light of all the recent, high profile attacks on our data.
Your email is one of the most important things to look after in this regard, especially seeing as it serves as a kind of nexus for all your other data. Sign up to nearly any online account and you’ll receive an email confirming your username and password. Your account details are here, your address and probably a lot of private information you’d rather not share with the world.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your account more secure, especially if you’re using Gmail.
And now there’s something even more convenient and secure…
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You probably already configured your two-step verification and now, rather than constantly searching your mobile for codes, you can just insert a verified USB stick instead.
Of course USB sticks can come in all shapes and sizes and that means you can easily find one that’s small enough and light enough to slip into a pocket – or even to wear around your neck.
All you need to do then is to carry it with you and then stick it in the drive when you want to access your email.
The great thing about this memory stick solution – compared with using your mobile phone – is that a memory stick never runs out of battery, it never runs out of signal and it’s even smaller than a smartphone. This means you’ll never be stuck without access to your account but you’ll be safe in the knowledge that people around the world aren’t successfully reading through your emails.
To get started, you’ll need to find a USB stick that’s compatible with the FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) standard. There are many models available that fall into this category, like the Yubico Security Key, and they shouldn’t break the bank. Just make sure that you double check before buying to avoid wasted time and money.
You’ll also need the latest version of Chrome (40+ at the time of writing) for your PC. Next up, head over to the two-step verification page at the Google account portal. You can find that here. Just look for ‘Singing in to Google’.
If you don’t already have two-step security in place then don’t worry, you can simply do it now – and we recommend that you do.
You’ll notice that once this additional layer of security is set up, the Security Key is there as an alternative option right at the top of the settings page. Now just click ‘Add Security Key’ and then ‘Register’. From here, you can put the key into a spare port and tap the button located on the button. Press done and you’re ready to go!
Note that you can’t sue the same key with multiple accounts. It’s also important to make sure that you keep your backup codes safe and have the authenticator app ready to go in case you should lose that USB. The verification code will also pop-up anywhere that you can’t use your stick – such as on a phone or on a tablet.
This is a great extra step to take and will help make your account even more secure. Don’t wait for there to be a problem before you tighten your security!
*Featured Image – Credit Mast3r – Dreamstime.com