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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NBTMV - Turn on 2-step verification on your Google account

In previous videos I have mentioned how important it is to turn on 2-step verification (or 2-factor authentication) on your Google account. In this three-minute video, I’ll walk you through the process because you really ought to do this.
After you turn on 2-step verification, to log into your Google account, you have to first enter your normal password and then you have to enter a verification code that Google sends to your phone. Even if someone steals your password, they’d face the additional step of having to enter the verification code before getting into your account. That;s why you should turn on 2-step verification -- to get the benefit of an extra layer of security.
To set up 2-step verification, first log into your Gmail (or Google+) account and click on your name or your profile photo on the upper right hand corner. You’ll get a Google Accounts overview page showing all the settings. Click the “Edit” link next to “Using 2-step verification”. That will take you to the page where you have to enter your current password and then you'll get the page where you can click a link to turn on 2-step verification. You’ll then go through steps where you enter a phone number to receive the verification code and test that it works. You also need to enter a backup phone number for the verification code, in case your primary phone is not available.
At this point, you should also generate the printable backup codes that you can use when you don’t have your phone or can’t use your phone. Google generates 10 backup verification codes that you should print out and carry in your wallet. In a pinch, you can use these one at a time when you need them.
For accessing Google services such as Gmail on a smartphone or a tablet or when you read Gmail using Microsoft Outlook, you have to generate and use application-specific passwords. There is a link on 2-factor authentication page for application specific passwords. You should pick a descriptive name for the application such as “Gmail on my smartphone” and then click Generate Password. Then enter that long complicated looking password (ignore the spaces) in place of your normal password. You have to enter the password only once for each application and you can always revoke a password and generate a new one.
That, in a nutshell, is how you turn on 2-step verification. If you haven't done so already, I hope you'd turn it on as soon possible.
Here's some more information to help you...
To learn a bit more about 2-step verification, see the Google support page on Getting started with 2-step verification and for more on application-specific passwords, you can:  Watch the video on application-specific passwords 

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