Email is the most critical aspect of our digital identities, seeing that it can unlock the doors to our other digital accounts and assets. That is why we must secure our email accounts to keep our data from getting into wrong hands.
Though Gmail provides powerful security features yet we do not know or use all of them. That is why in this write-up, I am sharing the essential list of tips and tricks to help secure your account from unauthorized access, hacking attempts, and other malpractices. Alright then, let’s get started.
We will begin by hardening your Google account since every Gmail account is a Google account at first. I will help you check out the necessary settings to ensure your account is safe against common security problems. Additionally, I’ll show you how to configure a few things to harden its overall security.
2-Step Verification is an additional security strategy that helps to protect your account better as it asks you for a second authentication secret (other than a password). That is why it is always suggested to activate and use two-step verification for your account. You can enable it by following these steps:
It is always a good idea to add some recovery info in cases where some information becomes inaccessible to you. In order to do that you will have to:
Click on “Recovery email”, then click on “ADD RECOVERY EMAIL“, then type in the email address you wish to add as the recovery email and click DONE. If you wish to edit it, click the pencil icon and change the recovery email.
Click on “Recovery phone”, then click on “ADD RECOVERY PHONE“, then type in the phone number you wish to add as the recovery phone and click NEXT. Google will ask you to confirm your number, so verify it, and it will get added. If you wish to edit it, click the pencil icon and change the recovery phone.
Whenever you log in to an app or website using your Google, you permit it to access your account, and it is an “indefinite-time pass” that you permit it. That means it can access your account anytime on its convenience though it can only access the info or services you have allowed it.
However, it is not safe to provide a stranger the key to your house, right? In the same way, it is safer to regularly check your account for unauthorized and unused apps and revoke them to protect your account. Here is how to do it:
“Allow less secure apps” is a security-overriding feature that allows apps with low security to access your account. Though it is highly recommended to keep this turned off yet you may have activated this feature for some reason, say to access your emails directly inside an email client like Microsoft Outlook.
Nevertheless, it is best to deactivate this feature, and you can always look for an alternative for the less-secure app you need to have this setting turned on for. For example, you can switch to the new Gmail and use its offline feature to access the emails, respond to them, archive or delete them offline.
An activity log is a helpful security measure to identify and track probable hacking attempts or unauthorized accesses, and Google does maintain an activity log of your account. You must check it regularly and flag any suspicious event, like an unknown account or info update. Let’s see how can check this log:
Once you are done hardening your Google account and configuring all basic security settings, it is now time to work on your Gmail account. Since we are talking about securing your emails in this post, it is of utmost importance to review and understand the safety features of your inbox — Gmail.
Let’s first verify the settings of Gmail account to see if everything is alright. Though Gmail does not offer many options yet they are enough to secure your emails. Alright, let’s begin tweaking your inbox settings.
Firstly, click the clog/gear icon to open settings in Gmail, then continue below.
In this tab, please check the following options:
In this tab, you need to verify the following options:
Under this tab, you will come across the following:
Under this tab, you shall check the following options:
If you receive an email that you find fishy or suspicious, and you do not wish to receive any further emails from the same sender, then you can block the sender. Gmail will automatically send his future emails to Spam in your inbox.
In order to block an email address, follow the below steps:
It is not uncommon to receive phishing or spam emails, especially if it is your work address, which one usually shares with others. Of course, no one likes to read unwanted emails at their work, and if you feel the same, you can report them and if found legit, Gmail will treat them as spam emails in the future.
If you wish to report suspicious emails, then do the following steps:
I hope you found this post helpful in securing your emails while using Gmail. I also need to remind you about taking precautions and following the safety rules while using the web because if an attacker gets hold of your computer or your browsing session, then he can also get access to your emails.
Please leave a comment or write to me at @aksingh to provide your feedback.
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