Google account is created with any of your email accounts. It has various purposes. You can use it with multiple Google products like Gmail, Google Ads, Google Adsense, YouTube etc.
To secure your Google Account, you enter an username and password every time you login. This is the basic level of encryption. If somebody knows them, your Google account is at risk.
What do you do then?
Prevention is better than cure. So, it’s better to provide an additional level of safety to block any collateral damage. Instead of taking help from third-parties, you can use the in-built security mechanism of Google itself.
If you look at the security setting of Google, it warns of any vulnerabilities or loop-holes in your account.
2 – Step Verification
This is an additional factor of safety after password that protects your Google account. Hence, it is called the 2-step verification method. This uses your password and mobile. Verification codes are sent to your mobile. Then you need to enter these codes after your password. This kind of mechanism is used for different account protection. These include Facebook, Amazon, WhatsApp and many other accounts. Those having a blog can also protect it using this method.
It is unclear of the invention of two-factor authentication. Some sources on the Internet cite to Kim Dotcom who started it in 2013. But this source says, that an European Patent Office has reversed his patent in favor of AT&T.
Google clearly mentions on its site that stealing passwords can be as easy as watching YouTube. In most cases, you can lose your Google account access for the following reasons.
- Using the same password on more than one site
- Downloading software from the Internet
- Clicking on links in email messages
The following are the different ways by which you can have a reliable Google account.
- Google prompts
- Voice or Text message
Google prompts –
Once you add a phone as a 2 – step verification method, you will get a notification kind of message on your mobile screen. You need to tap “Yes” if you agree to the sign-in of your Google account. Otherwise, you can tap “No”, if somebody is trying to hack your account.
This step is required every time you sign-in to your account. This is easier than entering a pin number. As you just need to tap “Yes” or “No”, it is convenient for all kinds of Google account users.
Voice or Text message –
In this method, verification codes are sent to the mobile registered with the 2 – step verification method. As you need to enter the code every time, you sign-in into your Google account, it can be laborious sometimes. Also, this method is more hackable compared to the above method.
These are additional backup steps, even if the above primary methods don’t work.
- Backup codes
- Authenticator app
- Security Key
Backup codes –
These are one-time codes that can be downloaded to your system or stored on your mobile. You can carry them anywhere you travel or when the internet is not accessible. Moreover, it is helpful even if you don’t have access to the mobile.
These codes are like permanent codes. So you don’t have to worry that these will change with time. Even after a year you can enter these codes to login to your Google account. These are especially useful, if the above primary methods don’t work.
Authenticator app –
This is one of the Google security apps that can be installed on your mobile. You have to add your Google account to this app using QR code or any other registered method. Then, a dynamic code is displayed in your Authenticator app for your Google account.
For every 60 seconds, the code keeps changing. Since this code is more dynamic than the static backup codes, it is more secure than the above. You need to enter the code that is displayed in the Authenticator app within this short period of time. The old code doesn’t work, once the new code is displayed.
Security Key –
This is more like a physical means of securing your account. Generally, a Bluetooth device or USB device is attached to the system, where you want to log into your Google account. It can be a simple means like a finger sensor on your mobile. This is also one of the more secure verification methods. Since, a physical device is required to authenticate the Google account, it is less prone to compromise.
These are the common methods of 2-layer security to your Google account.
Most-of the time, your device is registered with Google, whenever you add its account. This acts as an additional factor of safety. Whenever you think, these practices are more like a hindrance than protection, you can safely remove them.
In such cases also, Google will check the authenticity of your account with the previous registered codes or security key. You can use your Google account on multiple devices. Even if you remove 2-factor authentication on one device, you can still use it on other devices.
Finally, 2-step verification is a strong security mechanism to prevent intruders using your Google account.