An easy way to make your Google account stronger
2-step verification for your Google emails and documents
My friend Bart uses his Google email account for all his communication, private and business, to talk to friends, banks and legal advisers, to shop online and to book holidays.
One day his account got hacked.
Bart then not only had to reset his Google password, but get new credit cards, new passwords for his bank accounts and most of all worry about what else could happen that he hadn't even thought about yet.
It is easier than you think for someone to get hold of your Google password and then access your account. It can happen when you use the same password for multiple accounts, if you download software or if you click on links within email messages.
Once someone gains access to your email account, they can go through your messages, find your contacts, send and delete messages and reset passwords and maybe even obtain access to shopping or bank accounts.
It is therefore worth it to protect your Google account twice:
- with your password - something you know - and
- your phone - something you have - using a code or mobile app. Easy!
Too complicated, another password to remember or can't be bothered, you think?
It is easier than you imagine as we already have got our mobile phone with us all the time. And that is what Google is taking advantage of. Once you set up 2-step verification, you will sign in with your Google password, just like you are doing now and then will be asked for a second step before you get access to your account with the help of your phone.
Here are the steps to set it all up.
Before you start
Here are the things you need to get ready before you start:
- You have a Google account ready to go or you sign up for one.
- You own a mobile phone..
- If you are using Google's G-Suite (often for businesses), you or your account administrator has enabled 2 step verification in the administrator account.
Step 1 - Turn on 2-step verification in your Google account
1. Login to your Google account
2. Click on your avatar on the top right of the webpage and navigate to your account settings by clicking on "My Account".
3. In the first section on "Sign-in & security", click Signing in to Google.
4. You find your password and sign-in method. If off, click 2-Step Verification. If it is on, you are all set.
5. Get started with the setup process.
6. Re-enter your Google password.
7. Enter your phone number, select text message or phone call to receive your code and click next.
8. Confirm that it works by entering the verification code Google just sent you. Click Next.
9. If it worked, you will be able to Turn on 2-Step Verification.
10. Congratulations! You just made your Google account a lot more secure. Now we will get your phone ready.
Step 2 - Get your phone ready
Now that you have switched on 2-step verification, you will be presented with a few different options on how to verify your uniquely crafted codes. These will get sent to your phone and unlock your account if they are a match. Each code can only be used once.
I will show you how to set up two of the options: Google prompt and the Authenticator app.
Instead of a code, Google prompt asks you to tap a prompt on your phone. This is the quicker of the two options. Before you start, make sure your phone is compatible:
Now in your Google account go through the following steps:
1. Choose Google prompt, the second option after Backup codes and click add phone. This opens the dialog to set up your Google Prompt.
2. Click Get started to continue.
3. This should find your phone since you have entered your phone number in Step one and detect your model. See here if you phone is compatible. Click Next.
4.Try it and tap Yes on your phone to gain access to your Google account.
The authenticator app provides you with those unique codes you need for your login and is able to generate the codes without a data connection. The setup is made easy by using a QR code.
1. Download and install the app on your phone: Visit Google Play for Android or Applications for iPhone and search for Google Authenticator.
2. Download and install the application.
3. In your Google account, start by selecting the third option from the list: Authenticator app.
4. Choose your phone model: Android or iPhone. Click Next.
5. Scan the QR code with your camera. Click Next.
6. Enter the 6-digit code from the Authrnticator app. Click Verify.
7. All done. Click Done.
Now that it is all set up, it is really easy to use. And your worries about someone hacking your account are long gone. You can add as many account from lots of different apps, such as Google, Dropbox or WordPress.
Whenever you need to login to one of your double secured accounts, open the Authenticator app, find the account in the list and copy the current code into your account login. Otherwise just tap and you are in. That is if you set up Google prompt.
Have you had any experience with Google's 2-Step Verification? I am looking forward to reading your comments!