How to Double Gmail Security
Google has rolled out its two-step verification process to its Gmail customers, adding an extra layer of security and an extra device to the sign-in process. While the company warns set up could take as long as 15 minutes, the promise of never again being accused of sending emails with Viagra links to your contacts may be worth the time.
"Two-factor authentication (also known as 2-step verification) relies on something you know (like a password) and something you have (like a cell phone)," Matt Cutts, head of Google's Webspam team, said. "Crackers have a harder time getting into your account, because even if they figure out your password, they still only have half of what they need."
Not only could your account be used without your permission to send spam to your contacts , if the password is used on other accounts like an online banking account, those accounts are at risk as well.
Two-step verification was released to Google Apps users in September 2010 and the Gmail process is virtually identical. Step one consists of entering your user name and password as usual, and step two adds a code that is sent to your cell phone when you log in to Gmail .
Go to your Google Accounts page by signing into Gmail, selecting "Help" at the top of the page and then to "My Account."
Under personal settings, select "Using 2-step verification."
A set-up wizard will walk you through the process that will include adding your mobile phone number where the code will be sent upon request via a phone call or text message. The process also asks for a back-up phone number like one from a close family member or roommate in case you lose access to your phone.
Once you enable 2-step verification, you'll see an extra page that prompts you for a code when you sign in to your Gmail account. After entering your password, Google will call you with the code, send you a text message or give you the choice to generate the code for yourself using a mobile application on your Android, BlackBerry or iPhone device.
Type in the code and you'll have access to your account. The code automatically expires in around six minutes. Alternately, you may select "Remember verification for this computer for 30 days" option, and you won't need to re-enter a code for another 30 days.
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