How to set up 2-step verification on your Google account and avoid unauthorized access

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Having a strong password is a good thing, but it would be better if there were something stronger. Well, for Google users, the giant of search has developed a new advanced security feature called 2-step verification, which makes a Google account a lot more secure by using a more sophisticated technique that helps to prove that you are the real owner of the account.

Has anyone of you ever had your email account’s password compromised or spammed? Or did you ever signed in to your Gmail account or other websites from a shared computer? There are a lot of scenarios that can demonstrate why it is important to follow the necessary steps to protect your online life. When you reuse the same password in multiple websites the weaker it gets, because if one of those sites gets hacked your password can get stolen, and it can be used to access other accounts and retrieve a lot of important information that you may possess, this can be from the hacked website itself, email account, your photos and your private documents.

2-step verification, as the name implies, requires two different ways to authenticate the account, one is something you know: Your password and two something you have: Your phone. Google describes it as a method much more like an online backing website works: Enter a code in addition to your password.

It is one more step, but with 2-step verification you will get an extra layer of security in your Google Account (Gmail, Picasa, Google Docs, etc.). After you have the two factor authentication feature set up, if someone steals or guesses your password, this person still won’t be able to sign in to your account because they cannot complete the second step that requires your phone.

How to set up 2-step verification no your Google account

Navigate to your Accounts settings page and click the Using 2-step verification link. If you don’t see the link you can start the process with this spacial URL.

Google - Using 2-step verification link

In the next screen, click Set up 2-step verification button — notice that setup could take up to 15 minutes to enroll –.

Set up 2-step verification

Next follow the steps to choose how to receive your 2-step verification code in your phone. You can receive the code via Text message (SMS) or via voice mail for landline or mobile phone, or you can generate a code using a free Google Authenticator App in your Android, BlackBerry and iPhone.

2-step-verification set up phone

Now the question is: How can I sign in if my phone is not available, lost or stolen? For these situations 2-step verification provides two backup options for receiving verification codes. The first you are provided with a list of codes that you can print and the second backup option is to add a backup phone number that you can use if you lose access to your primary phone, then you just need to confirm and you are done!

The next time you sign in, let’s say to your Gmail account, will enter you usual username and password, and in the next screen enter the verification code generated by your phone.

Google - 2-step verification login

One more thing…

Because devices like smartphone and applications such as, Picasa desktop and Microsoft Outlook cannot ask you for security code, you are going to have to use Application-Specific Password, instead of your regular password, you can generate these passwords with Google and do not worry because you only have to enter them once and you don’t even have to remember them.

To create an Application-Specific Password, navigate again to your Personal Settings page of your Google account and this time click Authorizing applications & sites.

Next, enter the name for the application you are generating the password and then just click Generate password.

Google - Application-specific password

Enter the generated password in your application and that’s it! — You can create this password per application and you can revoke them at any time –.

I think that although there is an extra step when authenticating, it is worth to set up the 2-step verification on you Google account, that way you can be a little bit safer when you are using online services and when using a share computer.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].