Nathan Bransford, Author

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Two-step E-mail Verification

Do you use Gmail?

If yes, please, please do yourself a favor and turn on two-step verification. It will make it extremely, extremely difficult for someone to hack into your e-mail.

Here's what it is: After you turn it on and you enter your phone number you'll receive a text with an extra code before you log in to your e-mail. It's easy to get your devices set up so you don't have to do it over and over, and only slightly annoying when you are logging on to a device you don't normally use.

The advantage? Even if someone has stolen your password they still can't access your e-mail.

Do it. And don't take my word for it, check out this awesome explanation by James Fallows.

Here's how to do it (disclosure: link is to CNET, I work there).


Carol Riggs said...

Hmm, I tried that once. Then I took it back off because even on my OWN computer it wanted the code every single time I tried to get into my gmail. Not sure why. Maybe something to do with my computer settings or antivirus? Not sure.

Julie said...

I did this after that last guy's nightmare hacking from lulz for his stupid twitter handle. The guy in that article, freely admitted none of it would've happened if he'd had the two step verification. Article here:

Michael A. Lewis said...

This assumes that everyone has a cell phone. I don't.

Ryan Casey said...

Great advice, Nathan. I've been using two-step verification for a good three months or so now, and that extra level of security is really reassuring.

It's easy to set up new devices too, like you say. Worth two-three minutes of effort to keep yourself safe, especially if you have writing and other important stuff linked to your Gmail account.


Mira said...

I didn't know this! Thanks for the tip, Nathan!

Anonymous said...

I have a cell, but don't text. I'm still a little cloudy on whether they'll call me instead so I can use this service. I think in one place gmail said it was a texting service only. Later, gmail said they would use an automated call or voice mail, I think. So, I'm confused and need to spend my not-so-spare time Writing...

Kristin Laughtin said...

Thanks for the tip, Nathan. I set it up and will try it out for a while. Worst case, I might have to enter it every day at work, but I'll just look at it as an extra password that takes two seconds to enter unless it gets more annoying than that.

Michael and Anonymous: I just set it up, and it did provide options for voice calls, so you don't necessarily need to have a cell phone or a texting plan.

Germaine said...

I don't normally comment though I've been reading your blog for a while. Just wanted to say thank you for blogging about this. I always thought 2-step verification was just some shady way for Google to collect our phone numbers. But I finally signed up today after your reading your post and Mat Honan's account of being hacked. It seriously freaked me out and now I am officially on board the extra-security train. So thanks!

Tom Braun said...

This is a great idea. Facebook has a similar version of two-step email verification.

I hate to pimp my own work in such an obvious way, but my buddy and I do a tech podcast and we recently recorded an episode where we explain in some detail how set this up for both Gmail and Facebook.


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