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How to secure your Gmail account

Gmail is without doubt one of the most widely used e-mail services in the world. With your Google apps account you can use Gmail even for your business e-mail account (something like yourname@yourdomain.com). But whether you are using Gmail for personal purposes or for business purposes, you are always exposed to hackers and snooping people. Compared to other e-mail services, Gmail is quite secure in that sense, but still there are many ways you can make your account vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves. These are a few things you can do to secure your Gmail account.

Make sure you log out of your Gmail account if the computer is used by multiple people

Many people forget about logging off after checking their e-mail. It is perfectly all right to remain logged in if you’re the only one using the PC or the device that you use to log into your Gmail account. But if you are using a computer that is publicly available (even if it is at home but is used by multiple people) it is advisable that you immediately log off after use.

Maintain 2 Gmail accounts, or more

Use one Gmail account just for communicating and use the other account for logging into various services, subscribing to updates or downloading digital products. These days you can use your Google account to log into various cloud-based services and this way it may expose your account to individual vulnerabilities (for instance if the servers of that particular service are hacked, it may impact your Gmail account).

Use 2-step verification

Using 2-step verification you can tie your phone to your Gmail account. Once you activate this, a verification code will be sent to your mobile phone via SMS. You can activate (according to the current Settings path in Gmail) the 2-step verification by the following click path:

Settings -> “Accounts and Import” -> “Other Google Account settings” -> Security

You come to the following screen:

2-step verification

You can easily use this section to activate the 2-step verification feature on your Gmail account. Remember that if you’re using other clients to access your Gmail account (smartphone applications or even Outlook) you will need to generate application-specific code in order to access your account afterwards.

Once Gmail sends you a verification code via SMS, you will need to enter that code in order to log into your account. You can set your computer to remember the verification code so that you don’t have to enter it all the time, but if you access your Gmail account from another computer you will need to use that code.