Few things can be worse than Gmail hacks – because most of us use our Gmail account for everything. The amount of damage that can happen with a Gmail hack is much more than what would happen with another email account being hacked. If you use an Android device, then you use your Gmail account to login to it as well. This means all of the data on your phone is at risk in case of a Gmail hack. However, you don’t have to worry. We know how you can keep your account secure. This is as close as you can come to an account that is fully protected from hacks of all types.
Create a password you only use on your Gmail account
Most ‘Gmail hacks’ aren’t Gmail being hacked at all. It’s mostly another service being hacked, resulting in people’s passwords being released. Many of us are in the habit of using the same password on many different websites. It is easier to remember that way. You may have the same password for your Gmail account, your account on Amazon, and your account on your blog. Gmail, and Google in general, has excellent security measures in place.
Having one password is like having one key for all your locks
Hacking Google’s servers is one of the toughest things in the world for hackers, which is why there has been no major hack of Google so far. The problem is that the other websites you have the same password on usually do not have good security measures in place, and once your account is hacked, their and your password are revealed. The hackers can log into your Gmail account using your password without needing to hack Gmail at all. Your email account is one of the most private and important accounts you have on the internet, thus you should create a unique password for it which you do not use anywhere else on the internet. Sure, it may be hard to memorize in the beginning, but that will change in a week or two.
Create a unique password for Gmail
You can easily change your password from your Google account settings page. We would highly recommend changing your password right now. You never know which website may have gotten hacked and released passwords. We had something similar happen – an account we had made on a website for commenting and completely forgotten about had their server hacked. This resulted in the password leaking. If you are worried about the same thing, go to https://haveibeenpwned.com/ and enter your email address. The website has a database of compromised accounts and will let you know where your email address has an account that has been breached. Don’t think you are breached? Here is the report for my email address:
Yes, you are reading that right – FIVE different websites had passwords stolen. If I was using the same password for my Gmail account as I used for these websites, my Gmail account would have been gone. Make sure you check this website and test your own email address as well.
2 Step Verification
2-Step Verification is the single easiest way to make sure that your account cannot be accessed by any unauthorized user, even if they know your password. That is the beauty of 2 step. It adds another step to the logging in process. The way it works is simple. When you turn on 2 step verification for your account, you have to register a phone number. Whenever you login from a new device or location, you need verification. There are two different options available. You can choose to get the verification code via sms or call.
Simply add the devices to a whitelist and you will not need to enter the code on those devices. So, you can add your phone, your computer at home, and your computer at work to the whitelist and you will not need to use 2-step verification on those devices. However, if you ever login from a new place you will have to enter the code.
1 Password isn’t Enough
2 step verification is very important due to two main reasons. One is that it protects your account even when someone finds out your password. Another great thing is that you get a text whenever someone tries to login to your account, so you will immediately know if someone was trying to access your Gmail account.
The second major reason is that 2 step verification is the only security you have against key loggers. Key loggers are application which run in the background on computers. The app can record each and every key you press on the keyboard. So, if you login from a new location – a colleague’s computer, or at a print shop where you need to get something printed from your email, and if the computer has a key logger, then your password will be recorded in the log generated by the key logger. However, if you have 2 step verification enabled, then people can find out your password through the key logger and still not be able to do anything about it.
You don’t need to worry about losing access to your account. When you make your account you are given a list of codes that you can use to get into your account. These codes can only be used one time. It is a good idea to note the codes down or simply print them out and keep then in your wallet or your purse. Sure, it may be slightly inconvenient, but this is the best way to ensure that your account is never accessed without your authorization.
Enabling 2 Step
Enabling 2 step verification is easy. Gmail automatically prompts you to enable it. If it didn’t them simply head on to https://www.google.com/landing/2step/ to enable the 2 step process onto your account. Just make sure that you have your phone on hand while you do it. The whole process will hardly take you a minute or two to complete. It will end up being one of the toughest security measures if anyone tries to access your account.
Check your account recovery options
Make sure that your account recovery options use an email address with a different password than the one you use for Gmail. This way, if someone does find out your password and logs into your account and changes the password, you will be able to get it back using the other email address you put in the recovery option. If you use an email address for recovery that has the same password as your Gmail account, then you risk losing both your accounts. Make sure the phone number you use here is current as well.
Another thing we would recommend is using a friend’s email address as the account recovery option instead of another email address that you own.Most people primarily use Gmail and rarely ever use any other email account you may have. This means that there is a chance that you do not remember the password of the other account. This can result in you not remembering how to login to the account you are using for your account recovery. Which makes the whole process pointless.
Use Incognito Mode on other computers
Here’s another way to keep your account secure. This will not protect your password, but it will protect your email address. If you are ever accessing your Gmail account from a computer you do not trust, use the incognito mode on the browser. If you are logging into your account from a new person’s computer, in a shop somewhere, or any public place such as a library, you should always use incognito mode.
What is incognito mode? Well, in incognito mode your browser does not keep cookies and form data stored. Notice how when you open Gmail you get the addresses of everyone who uses your device in the email section before you log in. This is because computers save form data to keep things convenient for you. Incognito mode does not store history, cookies, or form data, so if you use incognito mode to access your email account, the computer will not keep a record for it.
Keep your anti-virus updated
One way that many people have their Gmail hacked is through viruses or malware. A virus can install a key logger into your computer, which can then send your passwords to the hacker. If you are using Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 then you already have anti-virus software built in the operating system. You just have to make sure that you keep your anti-virus updated so it can fight off any new viruses that try to infect your system. Some good free antivirus applications are Avira, Avast, and Nod32. Windows Security Essentials is also free for all Windows users. It does a great job of keeping your computer protected. You just have to make sure that you run a full scan on your computer every month to make sure there are no viruses hiding anywhere.
Make your password hard to guess
Many people have basic passwords which anyone can guess. There is a reason that Google makes you choose a strong password when you create an account. Easy to remember passwords are also easy to guess. Do not make the password anything like password1234. Neither should you use your first or last name as the password or use your children’s name, your office’s name, your city’s name, or any other similar information which everyone knows. Ideally you should keep the password totally random – nothing is more secure than a random string of alphanumeric characters.
However, since a random password will be very hard to remember , you can choose some random objects around you to create a password. You can also use some information that only you would know. Something like the name of the place where you went on your first date. Add a few numbers next to the name as well for added security. Geraldospizzeria1357 is, for example, quite a secure password, but only if Geraldo’s pizzeria is not a famous local place.
Just follow these simple steps and it will be almost impossible for you to go through a Gmail hack. The amount of important information we have on our Gmail account is mind boggling. This is an account used for authentication everywhere – which is why this is one account you should always keep as secure as possible.