24/06/2013

Make your Google Account more secure with 2 step verification

Like mine, if your Google Account too stores a lot of sensitive information about you and you don’t want that to end up in anyone else’s hand, turning on 2 step verification on your Google Account is a wise move. Thanks to the added hassle of this double security, your account will still be secure if any hacker ends up cracking the password of your Google Account. When you enable this security measure on your account, you shall be given access to your account only when you confirm a code sent to your phone in addition to the password you generally use to login to your device. Unless someone gains access to both – your cell phone as well as your Google password, your account remains safe.

So, if you are willing to make your account extra secure, follow the short introductory guide I am including in this article.
  • First off, enable 2 Step Verification by going to https://accounts.google.com/security
  • In the process, you will be required to add a Mobile Number to your Google Account, to which your confirmation SMS will be sent. Google might also ask for a backup number, just in case.
  • As SMS (or voice call, the alternative to SMS) might take some time to deliver depending on the carrier you are using, your location and a few others, you can install the Google Authenticator app on your phone if it happens to be an Android, iOS or Blackberry device. With that app, you get time-dependent codes which change every minute and you can use them even when you are on airplane mode. Set this up if you are privileged enough to have a smartphone based on the aforementioned OS.
  • Download some backup codes for the times when you don't have access to your cell phone, and write them down on a piece of paper and keep them in your wallet.
  • When signing in to your Google Account using the security code, you can mark the devices you trust so that you don't have to reverify them every time you login from that pc.
  • You can use the trusted devices to access your account without any code verification.

Some words about the Application-Specific Passwords (ASPs):

Application specific passwords are to be used when you need to log in to your Google Account via a third party app i.e. those apps which won't ask for the security code specifically, like, K9 mail on your Android device or a Messenger on your iPhone. These can be generated by visiting settings of your 2 step verification set up here. These passwords will work only once and have to be entered in the password field in place of your regular password.

Adding a Google Account with “2-step verification enabled” on Android:

When I activated the 2 step verification on my Google account, my Android phone and tablet threw me an instant notification that signing in to the Google Account has failed. If you have to add your Google Account which has 2 Step verification turned on on an Android 4.0+ device, then simply enter your password and then you will be required to enter the verification code that you receive either by SMS or using the Google Authenticator app on your smartphone. On Android 2.3 and below, you will have to use an ASP (Application Specific Password) in the password field to get it to work. Took me a few minutes to sort that out. It is to be noted that most Google apps on your Android smartphone don’t require you to enter ASP as they are authenticated by the Google account that you are using on your Android device.

For any queries regarding 2 Step verification, drop a comment below this article and I shall try to respond to it.
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