How and Why to Set Up 2-factor Authentication For Your G-Mail Account

2 step

I explained in this article that social media accounts (no matter the fan/follower amounts) were being kidnapped by hackers and held for ransom and how it could ruin your online presence.

One of the ways to prevent this from happening is by using 2-factor authentification for your e-mail and social media profiles. Yes, it requires an additional step, but it’s worth the extra effort to protect your social media accounts and your personal information.

What is 2-factor authentification?

According to Dr. Dan Manson, professor of computer information systems at Cal Poly Pomona and host of The CyberFed Show, a 2-factor authentification contains 2 of these 3 items: something you know, something you have and something you are.

  • something you know = a password or PIN
  • something you have = a card or an e-mail address or a log-in or a phone
  • something you are = a fingerprint or a retina scan or proof of I.D.

Dr. Manson feels that security questions are not really a 2-factor authentification because these answers can be learned or guessed.  This is precisely what social engineers (hackers) are doing to get into your accounts: guessing answers to your security questions.

G-mail offers 2-factor authentification by combining something you know (your password) with something you have (your phone). With 2-step verification, you’ll get a short numeric code (verification code) on your phone (mobile or landline). You’ll then enter this code in addition to your username and password (even on your laptop or desktop). (If you wish, you can set it so that you will only be asked for your verification code on that device every 30 days.)

To set up 2-factor authentification, go to your settings page (or go here) on your G-mail account and click “using 2-step verification”.  Next, click “set up 2-step verification”. Follow the directions that you see on your screen in order to set up the 2-step verification code option. You have the option to receive a text message or a voice-call to your landline or mobile device or you can use the Google authenticator app on your Android, Blackberry or iPhone.

You will also set up 2 back-up options for receiving verification codes in case  your phone is lost or stolen.

Go and do this now, while it’s still fresh in your mind! Is it perfect? No. But it MAY save you hours, weeks, even years of trouble down the road!

Other places where you can (and should) set up 2-step authentification are:

  • Evernote
  • Dropbox
  • Apple iCloud
  • Google Drive
  • One Drive
  • Most banks (although not Wells Fargo)
  • Amazon web services
  • Google cloud platform
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Basecamp
  • Campfire
  • Mailchimp
  • Hipchat is working on it
  • SalesForce
  • Outlook.com
  • Yahoo Mail
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • (For a continuously updated list, check this site.)