How to Protect Your Google Account with Two-Factor Authentication.
This is the year 2012 and we still depend on passwords and usernames to protect our online accounts from being hacked or phished.However, for those with a Gmail or Google account the big company from Mountain View has come up with a better way of protecting your Google account at least on mobile platforms. The method is known as the “Two Step Verification” or “Two Factor Authentication”.
The Two-Factor Authentication is a Google Secure Password that was first released in September 2010 for the Premier, Government and Education editions of Google Apps.On 10 February 2011, Google decided to roll out this feature to everyone including Standard account holders. This means anyone with a Google account can now use this feature on their mobile phones. Since this is an open source application, creative developers are even now exploring its use on many operating systems and software other than mobile platforms. For example, there is already a Google Authenticator for Ubuntu as well as a plugin for WordPress.
However, the set-up is not all that easy but it takes a few minutes to complete. To set up the G-Authenticator app, you must go to:
https://www.google.com/accounts/ManageAccount and follow the instructions.
How The Gmail Authenticator App Works:
The app adds an extra layer of security to your Gmail mobile phone login. There are two steps or layers involved. The first layer is the existing layer that we all know – this is the interface that requires you to enter your Google login password on the sign in page. You sign in with your username and password as usual, but instead of being taken directly to your account or inbox, you are directed to a second page that requires you to enter a Verification Code. This is a secret code generated by G-Authenticator or sent to your mobile phone via Text Message or Voice Mail by Google. This verification code is temporary and will only remain valid for a few minutes so you must use it as soon as possible before it expires. Once you have received the code, enter the code in the box and click “Verify”. When you are verified, you will then be able to log into your account and view your mail. Google sends the code to the mobile phone number that you used for setting up the Gmail Authenticator app. You might ask, how does this feature protect my account?
Well, phishers and hackers are always looking to decipher and steal your Google password. Without a second layer of protection, an attacker can break into your account when he/she gets hold of your password. The second layer does not use your normal Gmail password, therefore it will block any login attempts by a hacker even though the hacker has obtained your password. The second layer passwords are auto-generated, ever-changing, short-lived and disposable, therefore it is impossible for a hacker to intercept them.
Download Google™ Authenticator
Google™ Authenticator is a free app for Android, Iphone, Blackberry and Windows 7 mobile phones. This app supports multiple Gmail accounts. You simply need to download and install the app on your mobile phone. When the install is finished, go into your Gmail account and activate the Two-Step Verification under “Manage Accounts”. Follow the steps for configuring and enabling the app.
To test your app, open Gmail from your mobile phone browser and try to log in. When you log in on the Gmail Sign In page, you will not be allowed to go straight to your account. To access your account, you are requested to enter a six-digit Pass Code / Verification Code that is generated by the Google Authenticator app. The features of this security app are outlined below:
– Auto generates verification codes at set intervals
– Support for Iphone,Android,Blackberry and Windows 7
– Can generate verification codes for multiple Google accounts
– It is an open source application [Free]
– Can be applied on servers, wordpress and desktop operating systems.
Where to Download Google Authenticator App: