The primary email account contains a list of sensitive data and, as far as hackers are concerned, that paints a big red target on it. Think about it, the account is utilized to communicate with your bank representative, as ID for websites you’ve subscribed to, and even to store work related emails.

Would you feel comfortable knowing that someone is able to waltz into your Gmail account and take off with the information there? Of course not, because this isn’t just about your privacy, but also concerns the hazard of identity theft, which is one of the most prevalent online crimes nowadays. Let’s find out what we can do to maximize the security of our Gmail accounts.

Utilizing the 2-step authentication protocol from Google

Google’s 2-step authentication process is a godsend in terms of account safety. It rolls out whenever you or someone else is attempting to log into the account from a different computer or IP. When this happens, Google sends the verification code to the owner of the account via SMS and requires entering it before proceeding. Unless the person who managed to steal your password is also in possession of your phone – which is unlikely – he won’t be able to log into your Gmail account. Therefore, it’s recommended to add a phone number to the account when Google prompts you for it.

Never leave your Google account signed in on shared workstations

Whether it’s at work or in a gadget store, logging into your main Google account from a desktop, phone or table that’s not exclusively yours is highly inadvisable. However, when your work requires communicating via Gmail, you should at least remember to log out every time you leave the workstation. Otherwise, the email page will open automatically for the next person to sit down at the computer without prompting for a password.

Setting up a secure account recovery route

In addition to the 2-step authentication mentioned earlier, you should also connect your primary Gmail account with a secondary one for recovery purposes. Should your account be hacked or in the event that you simply can’t remember your password, you can request that a new one be sent to the second account. Without the second account, your options in terms of recovering the Gmail are very limited.

Disabling unnecessary features

By default, Gmail comes with a broad list of features that most users don’t even know about, let alone actually need. This includes POP, IMAP and automatic forwarding, to name a few. They can be turned off via the Settings button resembling a cog, located in the top right corner of the page. On a side note, you might be forced to perform this action from a desktop, in case the mobile version of Gmail doesn’t feature the Settings button.

Keeping the browser and operating system up to date

The importance of updating both the browsed and the OS to the newest version cannot be stressed enough. Not only do you benefit from newly implemented features that simplify work and enhance convenience, but you also gain access to security updates that address the latest online threats.

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