With more than 1 billion monthly users, Gmail is one of the largest and most popular email service providers. With all types of information traveling between its users, security and privacy are of utmost importance. Google’s privacy policy states: “We work hard to protect Google and our users from unauthorized access to or unauthorized alteration, disclosure or destruction of information we hold.”

The company has set numerous security measures into place to ensure information is secure and your personal data is not accessed illegally. However, breaches do occur. Here are seven ways you can increase your security with this email service provider and keep your personal information safe.

Use Strong Passwords

A strong password should be your first line of defense when protecting your email account. There are several ways you can make your passwords strong and increase your security. A few tips include:

  • Use a mixture of numbers, symbols and letters.
  • Use both lowercase and uppercase letters randomly.
  • Change your password at least once per month.
  • Never use personal information as your password.

Apply 2-Step Verification

In addition to using strong passwords, enable the two-step verification feature, also known as the two-factor authentication, in your Gmail account. With this feature, when you sign into your Gmail account using your username and password, a code is then sent to your mobile phone via a text message that you must enter. This prevents individuals who guess passwords from accessing your account unless they have your mobile device nearby.

Complete the Security Checklist

Google makes protecting your information an extremely simple task. Within Gmail, you can access a step-by-step checklist to ensure your account is secure. This checklist helps you verify your security settings and check your recovery information, connected devices and account permissions. When checking the account permissions, you will review all the apps, websites and devices that are connected to your Google account. The checklist can take only a few minutes to work through and should be reviewed several times a year to ensure all your settings are up to date.

Enable HTTPS Security

Gmail is a powerful provider, and it lets you log in from any location and any device. Unfortunately, you may log in to unencrypted networks and your personal data and privacy becomes exposed. To ensure all data between your browser and Gmail are encrypted, you can enable HTTPS security. To do this, you simply go into your settings and choose the General tab. Click the Browser connection option and ensure there is a checkmark next to “Always use HTTPS.”

Regularly Update Your Browser

Updating your web browser is critical to your protection online. When your browser is out of date, you become vulnerable to threats such as spyware and viruses. Hackers can also more easily access your information and steal confidential personal and financial information. Update your browsers frequently and run manual checks regularly to ensure everything on your computer is up to date. Often, these updates are designed to patch security vulnerabilities, so it is imperative you update all browsers you use.

Utilize the Safe Browsing Feature

The safe browsing feature is a simple way to identify malicious and suspicious links sent through email. When turned on, this feature will warn users of any suspicious links or unauthenticated senders. If you click on a suspicious link, you will receive a large warning – to confirm that you want to proceed with the link – which provides another layer of protection to your account and data.

Regularly Check Device Activity

Within your Gmail account, you can access a list of all devices that have accessed your account within the last 28 days. By reviewing this log regularly, you can view who has accessed your Gmail account. You can check for any devices you don’t recognize, any access into your account from a location you have never been to, a time or date when you did not access your account or even an internet browser that you did not use. Within this Gmail feature, you can also deny specific devices access to your Gmail account.

While Google has implemented numerous security measures to ensure your information is secure, it is ultimately up to you how often you use these features and tools. The more mindful you are with your security features, the more you can prevent unwanted threats from accessing confidential and personal information.

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