This Sunday, I am writing a slightly non-techie post but an important one. Recently on reading a post about keeping Gmail secure, I thought it would be important to share some important aspects of keeping your Gmail account safe.
The nightmare scenario is having your Gmail account compromised. Most people use their email to subscribe to other services, store passwords and when it comes to Google use it for Google Reader, YouTube, Orkut etc…
Image Credit: FamilyHomeSecurity
Secure your computer
Like they say “charity starts at home” we can say the same for account safety. In this case it is your computer which you use for surfing the net.
- Check for viruses and malware with the latest anti-virus.
- Always keep your operating system upto date. If you are using Windows there are many people who put-off installing updates. This can actually be quite a bad idea.
- Make sure the programs you use are updated. This applies most importantly to your Anti-Virus applications and any email clients if you are running them.
The point is have updated browser versions. Most time an updated version which is stable is a good idea.
- Download the latest browser version. Most times you can update the browser from your browser itself.
- The other point often missed is plugins and add-ons are not up-to date. It is a good idea to have updated plugins for your individual browsers. Latest version of Firefox has an inbuilt feature which prompts you to update older plugins. 🙂
Your Account information
- Change your password regularly. This is important as you might be using the same password for many linked services. Like for Google you might be using the same password from using YouTube to Gmail. Changing passwords is often the most ignored aspect of online security.
- Check which websites are authorized to use your account credentials. If you are using Google, you can sign into Google Accounts Page. Here click on My Account >> Change Authorized Websites. This is where you can revoke access to 3rd party websites.
- Often Gmail prompts you to have a recovery option for your Google account. Make sure you have an alternative email address and secret questions.
Sharing is not caring
Do not think of your password as the keys to your house. Think of it as the keys to your safe deposit box at a bank.
- One of the key reasons people have their account hacked is because they use weak or predictable passwords.
- Often people share Gmail account credentials with 3rd party websites. This actually means you are sharing your password with a stranger. Avoid sharing your passwords with other people or other web services.
- Another major security issue is people do not sign-out once they are done checking their emails. Always sign-out even if you are using a personal computer. 😛
I must confess that despite of being aware of all the steps here, I might have not managed to conform to all of them. I guess it is important to look up these points for a safer Gmail experience from time to time. What are your views on online safety? What are your steps to keep your accounts safe? Do let me know through your comments.