How to Keep Your Google Account Safe from Hackers
The first line of defense in securing your Google Account is your password. Using a strong, unique password is crucial. It should be a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters, and it should not be easily guessable (e.g., “password123”). You should avoid using personal information like your name, birth date, or common words. You should also ensure your Google Account password is unique and not used for other online accounts.
- Enable Two-Step Verification
Two-step verification, also known as two-factor authentication (2FA), adds an extra layer of security to your Google Account. When enabled, in addition to your password, you’ll need to provide a second verification step when signing in from an unrecognized device or location. This could be a code sent to your phone, an authentication app prompt, or even a physical security key.
- Keep your account recovery options up to date
Google provides several recovery options in case you forget your password or get locked out of your account. These options include a recovery email address, a phone number, and security questions. It’s crucial to keep this information up-to-date, so you can recover your account if needed. This also helps Google contact you if suspicious activity is detected on your account.
- Regularly review your account activity
Google allows you to review your account activity, including devices used to access your account, location, and time. Regularly reviewing this information can help you spot any suspicious activity. If you notice a sign-in from an unknown device or location, you can immediately take action by changing your password and reviewing your security settings.
- Be wary of phishing attempts
Phishing is a common hacking technique where the hacker attempts to trick you into giving them your password or other sensitive information. They may send an email that looks like it’s from Google, containing a link to a fake sign-in page. Always double-check the sender’s email address, and never enter your Google Account password on a page you got to via a link in an email. Instead, go directly to the Google Account page and sign in from there.
- Use a secure connection
Always ensure that you’re connecting to your Google Account through a secure connection, especially when using public Wi-Fi. Hackers can intercept information sent over public Wi-Fi networks, so avoid signing into your Google Account from such networks whenever possible. If you must, use a trusted Virtual Private Network (VPN) service to encrypt your connection.
- Manage third-party access to your account
Over time, you may give third-party apps access to your Google Account for various reasons. While this can be convenient, it can also present a security risk if these apps aren’t secure or if they don’t respect your privacy. Regularly review and manage the third-party apps that have access to your Google Account, and revoke access for any that you no longer use or trust.
- Use incognito or private browsing mode on shared computers
If you access your Google Account from a shared computer, use the browser’s incognito or private browsing mode. This will ensure that your login information isn’t stored on the computer and that your browsing history is deleted once you close your session.
- Secure your linked devices
Your Google Account isn’t just accessed from your computer. You may also access it from your phone, tablet, or other devices. Make sure these devices are also secure, using strong passcodes, fingerprint authentication, or facial recognition where possible.
- Stay informed about the latest threats
Cybersecurity threats evolve constantly. Stay informed about the latest types of attacks and scams
Cybersecurity threats evolve constantly. Stay informed about the latest types of attacks and scams by subscribing to relevant news outlets or cybersecurity blogs, participating in online forums, and attending webinars and training sessions. This will enable you to anticipate and prepare for new risks, and to adapt your security practices as necessary.
The landscape of cybersecurity threats is diverse and rapidly changing. Here are some current types of threats that you should be aware of:
- Ransomware attacks: In these attacks, hackers encrypt your data and demand a ransom to restore it. While Google does a good job protecting your data, your local copies of files synced from Google Drive could be compromised. Be wary of suspicious emails or websites that could deliver ransomware, and keep a secure backup of your files.
- SIM swapping: This attack involves a hacker convincing your mobile carrier to transfer your phone number to a new SIM card that they control. They can then use this to bypass two-factor authentication. To protect yourself, consider using an authentication app for 2FA instead of SMS codes, and ensure your mobile carrier has good security measures in place.
- Deepfakes: Deepfakes are realistic AI-generated videos or audio. Hackers could potentially use these to impersonate you or others in order to gain access to your account. Always verify the identity of people asking for sensitive information.
- AI-powered attacks: With advances in AI, we’re starting to see AI-powered phishing attacks that are more convincing and harder to detect. Be extra cautious with unexpected emails or messages, even if they appear to come from someone you know.
Remember, security isn’t a one-time task, but an ongoing responsibility. Regularly review and update your security measures to ensure that your Google Account remains safe. With vigilance and appropriate safety measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of your account being compromised by hackers.