Take the Free Google Security Checkup
As part of “Safer Internet Day 2015” Google is offering a free boost of 2 GB in your Google Drive storage allotment. Even if you don't care about the extra storage, I do strongly recommend that you take the two-minute Security Checkup. And when you're done with the Google checkup, I have an extra credit assignment for you...
What is the Google Security Checkup?
It's becoming a more dangerous world every day, both offline and online. So it makes sense to take a good look at your security practices, and ensure that everything is in order. The steps below will help you secure your accounts from unauthorized access, and recover them if they are ever compromised. Below is a guide to what you'll see in the five-step Security Checkup. Just keep in mind that you must do it by February 17th, 2015 to get the free storage bonus...
Step One is to add or double-check your account-recovery information, which includes the alternate email address and/or phone number that Google can use to contact you and verify your identity in the event your account is compromised. It also includes the answer to a secret question that confirms you are who you claim to be.
Next, review your recent Google account activity to see if anything suspicious has been logged. For instance, does the log show that you logged in from somewhere in Texas when you know you were in Colorado? If you suspect someone has been tampering with your Google account, change its password immediately.
In the third step, you have to decide whether to let Google block applications that “do not use modern security standards” when they attempt to log into your Google account. This is a tough call because Google does not specify what “modern security standards” are required in an app to avoid blocking. Among examples of apps that will be blocked are the iOS Mail app in versions 6.0 or below; all Windows Phone Mail apps prior to version 8.1; and “some” desktop mail clients like Outlook and Thunderbird. If you’re not happy with the result of allowing this block you can always disable it
Fourth, review all of the apps, Web sites, and devices that have permission to access your Google account. There may be more such permissions than you think; remove those that you no longer need or recognize.
Fifth, review your account settings. (Don’t click on “Security checkup” at the top of that page or you’ll be taken all the way back to Step One above.) Many of the account settings will look familiar because you just reviewed them in the first four steps. But in the “Signing in” section is a choice that should be Step One in any security checkup; I’m really baffled to find it buried in the obscure account settings.
Do the Two-Step
“2-step verification” is one of the easiest and best protections against account hijacking available. (See also: SECURITY TIP: Two Factor Authentication) Any log-in attempt requires both your password and your mobile phone. You type in the password and Google sends a one-time code to your phone via SMS message or automated voice call. Even if hackers obtain or guess your password they can’t access your Google account without the access code. (You do have a screen lock on your mobile phone, right?) You can also get a printable list of two-factor authentication codes, to use in the event that you don't have access to a phone.
After 2-step verification is used at least once on a given computer, you can tell Google not to require it again on that particular computer. I’d recommend this time-saving option only for computers that are secured in your home or office, not for laptops that are more likely to go missing.
You can access and change all of the Google Security Checkup settings from your Google Account Settings page at any time. Your extra storage will be added by the end of February, at which time Google will email you to confirm.
For Extra Credit (and Protection)
Once you've finished the Google security checkup, I encourage you to read (or re-read) these articles to make sure you've got all the other computer and Internet security bases covered:
- Protect Your Computer With Free Anti-Virus Software
- Computer Security: The Missing Link
- Wireless Network Security Checklist
- Do I Really Need a Firewall?
- Downloading? Watch Out For These Danger Signs
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 16 Feb 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Take the Free Google Security Checkup (Posted: 16 Feb 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved