Google’s Gmail is one of the most widely used email service that offers tons of storage space and is completely free. But we often hear the news where millions of Gmail accounts are compromised and details are leaked online.
However, Google says that it was not a breach of their system but a result of weak passwords and security settings.
Here are some quick and easy steps that can help prevent unauthorized access to your Gmail account and reinforce the security wall if it was recently compromised.
Step# 1– Turn on the 2-step verification
If your account has just one layer protection i.e. your password to log into your account, it makes it vulnerable to hacking as breaking one’s password is quite easy these days.
With Gmail’s 2-step verification you enable an extra layer of security to your account. After you enter your password to sign-in, you will be asked to enter a security code. The security code can either be received through your mobile device or app or you can choose to plug-in a security key through the USB port.
Step# 2 – Track account activity regularly
It is a good practice to review your recent account activity regularly. Keeping an eye on activities like recent password change, log-in from a different computer or adding another email address will help you keep your account safe.
If you notice anything suspicious or unusual, you should go ahead and change your password first. Next try to determine the reasons for unfamiliar activity. If you have confirmed that it was not you, then you should make appropriate changes to secure your account.
Step# 3 – Enable Https security
Always start shopping at a trusted site instead of a search engine result which can be rigged to include malicious links. These links will have some irresistible offers, but the mantra is – when in doubt, opt out.
You can reduce the risk greatly if you type in the URL of a familiar trusted site. We are all aware of online stores like Amazon.com, eBay or retailers like Target.com and that is where you should start shopping online. Google too keeps improving security at its end.
Step# 4 – Use strong passwords and change it often
How secure is your mail account depends a lot on the shoulders of your passwords. Somewhere between keeping a strong password and making it easy to remember we compromise on the safety of our accounts.
It is important to have a strong and unique password for each of your accounts. It is also crucial to keep updating passwords regularly especially if it has recently been attacked. To keep your passwords safe never share it with anyone and don’t send it over email or chats. Always keep your passwords in a secure and hidden place.
Step# 5 – Verify granted access account
If you notice any suspicious activity on your account, one of the first things that you should verify is the granted access account settings to see if there is any other email address listed.
If a sneaky intruder has had a chance to get into your account once, they will add their email address to the list of accounts allowed to read/ send mail. This will make future access to your account easy and uninterrupted. So click delete to revoke the rights of the suspicious account.
Step# 6 –“Filters” and “Forwarding and POP/IMAP Feature”
If you think a hacker might have had access to your account for sometime, another setting worth checking is the “Filters” and “Forwarding and POP/IMAP Feature” tabs to confirm that no one has setup any rules to forward mails to unknown third-party address.
Delete filters and disable forwarding/ POP/ IMAP and Save Changes to remove any suspicious addresses and correct settings.
Step# 7 – Install Security Plug-ins
There are scores of security browser plug-ins available that can help you fight against phishing and scamming.
Web of Trust (WOT) is a free plug-in that warns you if you are visiting a malicious site. BetterPrivacy is a great add-on from Mozilla that protects against special long term cookies that can leave a trace for hackers to infiltrate your system. Some of the popular third-party plug-ins includes Firefox Add-ons Page, Chrome Web Store and Safari Extension Gallery.
Step# 8 – Enhance your security Q&A
We are all aware that strong passwords are a must, but we never really bother so much about the security questions. Cybercriminals enjoy the challenge of breaking into accounts via the route of answering security questions.
So always ensure that your security question are not easy, obvious and single word answers. If you are trying to get back into your locked out account, always prefer mobile phones over security questions as they are much safer.
Step# 9 – Update your account recovery options
In case you forget your password or are locked out of your account, account recovery options are really helpful. They also help to safeguard your account against hackers, who use recovery options route to get into your account.
You can either recover using your mobile or email address. Mobile recovery is more safe and quick. Be assured that Google will not use your mobile for promotions. Make sure that your number and email address is updated as this is the number where you will receive notifications to get back in.
Step# 10 – Keep your system up-to date
The basic safety step to protect you’re account is to ensure that your system is clean from viruses and spywares or any other infections.
Install a good anti-virus program and update all your apps and software to the latest version. Your firewalls and virus protection software should be frequently updated as they are holding the fort wall. Make sure that all web-connected devices like smartphones, tablets and PCs are clean and updated too.
Boost Security of your Gmail Account with VPN
When you use a VPN, it creates a private encrypted tunnel for all your internet requests. It allows you to surf using your private wifi network where no intruder can sniff to see what you are accessing online. Without a VPN, that information can be easily traceable— and if the websites or apps don’t use SSL encryption, the cybercriminal could keep an eye on everything you click on or send.
So while the above steps offer limited safety against intruders, you can easily raise your security level by using PureVPN for added protection and benefits like web anonymity, personalized wifi with encrypted connection.
Using PureVPN also allows you to unblock Gmail even in countries like China where it is currently blocked. You can read PureVPN review on this link..