The last few months have been fairly peculiar for a lot of people: moving into a home office set-up means many UK and international workers have had to be in charge of their own online security.
As IT professionals the world over have worked overtime to set up VPNs or issue office-quality tech to workers shielding from Covid-19, opportunist hackers have tried to take advantage of companies and staff that aren't as well-informed as others when it comes to cybersecurity.
One key aspect of keeping hackers at bay is email security, and the most popular email app out there – Gmail – has some handy features built in to keep you safe.
Here's what you need to know about keeping your Gmail account as secure as possible.
How to enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) on Gmail
Two-Factor Authentication, more commonly known as 2FA, will require you to input a password and a verification code each time you log into your Google account.
By sending a unique verification code to your phone each time you log in, Google adds a layer of security to your account, and means that malicious entities can't access your account even if they discover your password.
To activate 2FA on Gmail, simply:
- Open your Google Account.
- Click Security in the navigation bar (left side of the screen/app)
- Navigate to the Signing in to Google panel, then click 2-Step Verification.
- Click Get started.
- Follow the Google walkthrough on how to set up the process.
How to check if your Gmail account has been hacked
Google estimates that over 4 billion usernames and passwords have been hacked, and a lot of that information is available to people online – if you know where to look.
To try and help people whose accounts have been compromised, Google has created a resource that allows users to check their details against a database of hacked email accounts and passwords.
Hackers buy extensive lists of compromised passwords – even without accounts – because the more common a password is, the easier it is to hack.
Simply put: don't use easy-to-guess, short and common passwords for any of your accounts, since these can easily be 'brute-forced' by hacker software.
If you're eager to know if any of your accounts have been compromised, you can download and install the Password Checkup from the Chrome webstore.