December 23, 2009

How to Secure Your GMail Account-Ultimate Guide

The most widely used free email service is from Google which has occupied proficient and prominent position in the cloud.

GMAIL – The free email service from Google with enough storage space to keep your communications intact through years and years. Since Gmail is widely used mail service, security concerns are primarily of respect and main focus. Hence here in this post, we’ll share  a few important and useful Gmail security tips so that our accounts shall never be compromised.

1. Always Use HTTPS – This is a great feature from security point of view in Gmail. HTTPS is secure protocol for transmission of vital information on web in encrypted form. Although, when we sign into our Gmail account, https is used but to make sure https is used throughout our session for our Gmail account, we need to enable this option from Gmail settings. To enable this option, go to settings of your Gmail account and check “Always use HTTPS” under general tab and save changes. HTTPS makes mail little slower than normal but security should be of our prime concern.

2. Remember to signout – Log out whenever you have completed checking mails even if you’re on your own computer. If you’re on public computer like in cyber cafe, make sure you had unchecked “Remember me” or “keep me signed in” option while logging into account. Clear cookies, passwords before leaving public PC.

3. Audit – You know your own ip address. Now find out the ip address from where your Gmail account was opened last time. In the footer, at the very bottom of your inbox, you will see information about last sessions – Last activity : ip address : Details . Just hit on details button and you can see when was your account accessed and from which ip address.

 You can also use this feature there to log out all sessions if you find any session open or if you forgot to log out on your friend’s pc or public computers. One should make habit of checking/ auditing Gmail account session details regularly.

3. Don’t disclose Password– Don’t disclose your password to anybody. You might get fake email asking for your Gmail id and password, but remember,  Google never asks you to disclose your password. Stay safe. Also, some websites have features to invite your Gmail contacts to network with you on their website, for this they ask you to enter your Gmail id and password – Don’t give your Gmail details to untrusted or small or new , unestablished websites .

4. Periodically Change your password – Once in two months or so, you should change your password but remember the new one!! Don’t use easy to guess password i.e. don’t use your mobile number, date of birth, your girlfriend’s number as your password! Use password of at least 8 characters. Don’t use repetitive letters in passwords as aaaa1111. Don’t use your Gmail account password as passwords on other websites. I find many people use the same password for variety of websites so if one of your passwords is hacked, all are hacked.

5. Check Outgoing linksDon’t fall prey to phishing attempt. Your so called friend might give you a link stating that it the link to new and feature packed advanced Gmail, you then try to log onto the link given by your friend and your friend gets your id and password. So always check links before hitting on any such links.

6. Keep your account up to date – Your Gmail password is your orkut password and the same password is used for other Google products and services, hence ensure security updates and measures in all your accounts so that neither way, your account could be compromised. Keep your account recovery option updated and remember your security question and answer so that you can recover your password in case if something wrong happens. Although, after reading this post and following accordingly, such unfortunate case is nowhere to stand. You can also add phone number to account for recovery purposes. To review your gmail recovery options, follow this link: GMail account recovery options

7. Use updated Security Programs (Antivirus, Firewall, Antispyware) on your pc - This point is also very important because your computer might have been compromised by a trojan, keylogger or virus which may distribute your account details to remote hacker. Update your browser, operating system, security softwares, mail applications so that you should not be vulnerable to latest exploits and hacks.

8. Check Attachments Before Downloading – Gmail scans every attachment you receive or send for virus or other such kind of threats but even then, it is not advised to download attachments from untrusted source. This will keep your computer safe and so your account. 

9.Beware of  Spam – Don’t waste your time reading spam messages. Spam messages are not only waste of time but also may prove to be a security concern as spams may contain links to malicious websites.

10. Periodic Account  Backup – Well, backup would be useful in case of recovery of your account if your account had been compromised. Although this point is not a necessary step, yet you can backup all your gmail mails to make your life easy! One such tool to backup gmail is – Download GMAIL Backup tool

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