Many us use Gmail for our day to day communication needs. Google offered a bouquet of other services like Gdrive and this helped the email service get a lot of new users. In today’s day and age, we take services like Gmail for granted. Despite the convenience what we don’t realize is that like all the other things on the internet email is susceptible to attacks and hackers. In this article, we explain how you can safeguard your Gmail from hackers and other malicious elements.
How to secure Gmail account from hackers
- Strong Password
- Use 2FA or 2-Step Verification
- Set a Recovery Phone and Email
- Complete the Gmail security checklist
- Keep an eye on Phishing attempts
- Encrypt Gmail emails
- When suspicious check recent security events.
1] Strong Password
Remembering a password is tough, but that is no excuse for using a weak password. I know of people who use their date of birth as password. Hackers use sophisticated tools that try to break into your Gmail account by formulating a combination of passwords. So its time you change your password to something that is not easy to decipher.
I would suggest using password managers. It is wise to ensure you don’t use the same password on more than one site and it would be great if you can use a custom phrase as your password. In the end, your password should be a combination of alphanumeric characters and should rank high in difficulty.
2] Use 2FA or 2-Step Verification
Most of the apps/services these days offer two-factor authentication, but not many of us seem to be interested. With the help of two-factor authentication, you will be able to better safeguard your account while logging from a public network. Attackers will not be able to hack since they don’t have access to the OTP that is sent to your phone. Enable the two-factor authentication by heading over to this link.
You can also set your personal computer as trusted so that you don’t have to go through two-factor authentication. Typically the code is sent via SMS, Google’s Mobile app or voice call.
3] Set a Recovery Phone and Email
This is a very important step. Setting up recovery phone and email not only helps you to recover forgotten password, but it also warns you of suspicious activities. The warning system sends alert on both SMS and email. The alert is usually sent when your account is synced to a new device or opened from a new location.
4] Complete the Gmail security checklist
Did you know Gmail has a security checklist? I just found out, and it seems super useful. The built-in security tool can be accessed by heading over to Accounts> Sign in & Security page. As part of this exercise, you will be walked through a questionnaire that asks you to review some information.
5] Keep an eye on phishing attacks
Phishing is a form of social engineering attack wherein the attacker will steal your password and credentials disguising themselves as a legit site. For example, a phishing site will look very much similar to the actual website. However, it is nothing more than a credential-stealing machine.
Gmail doesn’t usually ask you to enter credentials, even if it does make sure that the website is legit. Lookout for typo’s or grammatical error, if not you can always spot the difference in the URL. I would advise you to refrain from posting personal details on social media.
6] Encrypt Gmail Emails
Encryption is a godsend security solution. With encryption in place, one can ensure that only recipient gets to read the message. In other words, this technology works like key and lock. Only those who have the key to the lock can open it. Here is how you can see whether an email is encrypted or not.
- Start composing a message
- In the Add recipient field check for a lock icon in the right
- This icon will show the user’s encryption level
- Click on the icon to get the details
7] Check Recent Security events
This is the best way to check what your Google account has been up to. This feature is nothing but an advanced log that lets you check Google login activities. The recent security events populate all your login alongside the timestamp and location. To access this feature, you need to go to Google Profile Photo and click on Account. Else, you can simply click on this link to access recent security events.
Wrapping it up
We have already come across numerous reports that speak of large scale attack on Gmail users. These scathing attacks can be in the form of phishing, using malware and exploiting vulnerabilities. According to a recent report, 91% of Cyber Attacks start with a phishing email. Needless to say, it is important for the users to safeguard themselves from such attacks and in this article, we will tell you how.
Read next: What To Do If Your Google Account Is Hacked?