How To Be As Safe As Possible Using Google’s Account Services

are yourgoogle-accountssafeandsecureWe’re all somehow connected and involved with Google in one way or another by holding at least one of their various Google Accounts. So it makes sense to keep these accounts as safe and secure as possible, although it may need additional work to do so. What Google has set up is a digital daisy chain of different functions and processes for streamlining our online lives.

Say that you unexpectedly receive an unfamiliar email giving you detailed login information to a gaming site which you’ve never heard of, thus never been to. What someone did was somehow accessed and cracked one of your Gmail accounts. You discover that the name used was “Steve,” whom you don’t know. So he somehow solved your Gmail password and thought he could play a bit of RPG Gaming on your behalf, using your data.

So what you immediately need to do in this case is to obviously change your Gmail password to something that’s not as obvious, making it uncrackable. It’s no fun getting hacked, but it’s happening at an increasing rate on a daily basis regardless of who you are.

What’s really alarming is the kind of online private data and information which someone can potentially access by hacking into your account, and find out about you, and they’re not usually nice about it.

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Google Gmail Is Just A Front
For most, that Gmail password isn’t just a simple password to access your email messages. It’s now an online passport to your: Google Docs account, your Google Calenders, your Google AdWord campaigns, Google Plus and practically everything else that’s connecting you to Google and their services, just from that one single Gmail password.

Just take a look at your Gmail email content itself. Someone could potentially find all your passwords and usernames to all of your online memberships, or tax and income information, personal email conversations as well as other delicate personal information, potentially enough information to perform credit card or personal identity theft.

Also, if you happen to be using any of Google’s business apps, you can also be risking and exposing proprietary information and data of the company you work for.

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Google’s Security Measures
Google’s Security Checklist

But Google’s aware of these dangers and issues and are looking out for you, as they also have an interest in keeping your private information as safe and secure as possible.

So it’s recommended that you follow Google’s Security Checklist, which should place all of your Google Accounts into lock-down mode.

Making Your Google Accounts Safe And Secure

Your Passwords Should Be Changed As Often As Possible
It’s easy to just ignore this easy step, so most of us do. This not just for our various Google Accounts, but for all of our accounts such as banking or social media as well. While there are no definitive set of rules for changing your passwords, it’s recommended that you do so at least once a month.

Set Up A 2 Step Verification Process
This is marked as one of the most important steps which is listed on Google’s Security Checklist. Setting up a 2 step verification process adds that extra layer of security to all of your Google accounts, by needing an additional special code which needs to be entered on all the “trusted” computers, once every month, as well as each and every time that you’re accessing the Google account from a computer that’s “non-trusted.” This however doesn’t happen by default however, you’re required to set it up with Google first.

Also, if you print out all of your backup verification codes, that can be a lot more safer than just saving all the information in a text file. If you have no other option than saving a text file, by all means, never name it “Backup Google Codes” or anything else that obvious.

When you decide to sign up with Google and their two-step verification, the process is easy and self-explanatory.

Make Sure To Check For Third-Party As Well As Updated Browser Extensions
Always check your internet browser for extensions, plug-ins, and applications which may potentially gain access to your Google accounts. This requires additional attention since Google does not inform you on how to do this.

Internet Explorer
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/298931
Their support page explains how you can disable the “browser helper” objects when using the Internet Explorer browser. If you’re wanting to completely disable all third party extensions entirely, then click Tools, then Internet Options, then Advanced, and then un-check the “Enable third party browser extensions,” which is just beneath “Browsing.” You’ll then need to restart IE for the new setting to take effect.

Firefox
http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/plugincheck/
If you go to the Firefox plugincheck page, it will automatically detect all of your current Firefox plugins as well as ensuring that they’re all up to date.

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Google Chrome
http://code.google.com/chrome/extensions/autoupdate.html
For the Google Chrome web browser to be as secure as possible, the browser automatically self updates all of its installed extensions.

Security Of Google Accounts For Business
If you’re currently running a small business, then make sure that you tell all of your employees as well as contractors to go through Google’s Security Checklist for all of their Google accounts.

If you happen to be sharing Google Docs or any other applications with your various clients, then you can create a specialized outward-facing Gmail address which you’re able to share with your other Gmail users who you may potentially think are insecure or at risk.

If you happen to have excellent ongoing working relationships with a trusted current client who is using Google accounts, then you can inform them on using Google’s suggested security steps on this page.

If you’re concerned about security within your particular industry, you can have your employees or contractors sign a waiver which requires them to make sure that all of their Google Accounts are safe and secure and that they use the two-step verification process.

So obviously keeping your Google Account as secure as possible requires a bit more work. But once you realize that all of your various Google accounts are actually digital keychains to your online business and personal life, it’s definitely well worth the time and effort.

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