Securing online accounts against unwanted intrusions is very necessary today. Though the number of malicious threats and privacy leaks has been increasing, we are in better situation to secure our accounts than ever. Thanks to the 2 Factor Verification(2FA) that has become a norm. Google also provides two-factor authentication to all its user. And since, all Google products are linked with one Google account, we have 2 factor authentication for all of Google products.
What is 2 Factor Authentication?
Two-factor authentication combines two factors for security: something you know (like your password) with something you have, in this case your smartphone. Two-factor authentication isn’t exclusive to Google accounts. For years now, 2 factor authentication has been used by both Internet companies and real businesses. In fact, you probably already use it – inserting your card at an ATM and entering your personal PIN number is an example of two-factor authentication that most people are already familiar with.
How to Set Dual Authentication for Google Accounts
Setting up an additional layer of security on your Google account will add to your online protection. To enable dual authentication, follow these steps-
#1. Head to Google’s authentication page
Click here to go to Google’s authentication page and click “Start Setup”.
#2. Set your phone number
Type in your phone number and chose to either sends a test code or a voice call to verify that you own the phone. This can’t be done without active mobile service. If you don’t have a mobile phone with active mobile service, you can’t proceed.
#3. Verify your phone number
At this stage, you enter the verification code you received in the text message or phone call.
#4. Set your computer’s trust setting
You will be asked whether or not you want the computer you’re using to be a trusted computer. If you don’t want to repeat this process and are using a home computer, check the “Trust this computer” box.
#5. Turn on two-step verification
And now, all you have to do is turn on your two-step verification! One switch and you’re done. Now you can enjoy all the benefits of two-factor authentication.
There are three ways to access your account after setting 2 factor verification.
First, you can receive codes via text message or phone call to your phone number. Second, you can set up Google Authenticator app which generates codes in your mobile itself. Third, you can carry a hardware device called Security Key which will allow you access to your account when you plug it to the device you are using.
You can also set up 2FA to secure Google Apps data.
Using Google Authenticator App for 2 Factor Authentication
Google has its own Authenticator app that you can use for two factor authentication. The app will give you authentication codes instead of SMSs or phone calls. Even if your mobile is trapped in a low network region, Authenticator app will work as it generated time based codes that are linked with your account.
Authenticator app is only available for Android, iOS platform(iPhone, iPad) and Blackberry. For Windows phone, you can use WinAuth and for Desktop PC, GAuth Authenticator Chrome extension is a good replacement.
- After you set up 2 factor verification for your account, you can switch your primary way to receive codes to Authenticator app.
- After selecting the option, you will get a pop-up asking which OS your phone runs on. Select the one from Android, iPhone or Blackberry.
- Download the Google Authenticator app from the link if you don’t have it on your phone. Download Authenticator for Android and for iPhone.
- A barcode will be generated to set up the account with authenticator app.
- Scan the bar code and enter the code generated into the space provided.
2 Factor Authentication will secure your account, but it will also make regaining access to your account significantly more difficult. If you somehow lose your smartphone, or if a friend or family member who has your phone and knows your passwords or with social engineering, you could still lose your account. So it’s difficult to consider that 2 factor authentication protects you from everything under the sun.
If you lose your phone frequently, then you can chose Authy. Though less secure than Google’s Authenticator, Authy brings online security at your convenience. With the ability to access Authy from multiple devices, Authy has got different and easy methods to authenticate your account. (Comparision between Authy and Google Authenticator). In any case, 2 Factor Authentication is a must for anyone who is using Google products (Gmail, Youtube, Maps etc) .