With 1.8 billion active Gmail users, it’s no surprise that Gmail is a favorite target of malicious hackers. Eighty-nine percent of Americans open their email once a day, with more than 34% of people checking it more than five times daily, making it a critical hub of private information, data, and communication. As more and more behaviors and habits migrate online, email keeps track of many aspects of daily life. As a result, it creates a valuable treasure trove of data hackers are just waiting to manipulate. Gmail accounts also utilize “encryption in transit,” which is unfortunately not the gold standard in protection, leaving accounts vulnerable to hacking. While these attacks are rare, they can also be devastating.
How to Secure Your Gmail Account
While the threat of attack is real, it’s also fairly simple to proactively protect your Gmail account. Most of the time, Google account security comes down to two things — login credentials and two-step verification.
1. Create a Strong Password
Stop using an easy-to-guess password like your birthday or wedding anniversary. This kind of information is readily available online and is an easy guess for hackers. Instead, a strong password should involve multiple characters, numbers, and special characters unrelated to anything important in your life.
Also, resist the urge to use the same password on multiple websites. That would make it easy for hackers to infiltrate several different accounts and platforms. Instead, prioritize password length, as the more characters involved, the harder it is to hack. Also, avoid using real words, as those are easy for automated hacking (and yes, there is such a thing) to guess.
2. Use Two-Step Verification
Two-step verification provides more layers of security, decreases the risk of unauthorized access and system breaches, and is highly effective at protecting your Gmail account. Google recently revealed that less than 10% of Gmail users make use of two-factor authentication, leaving their accounts wide open to malicious actors. Google doesn’t mandate this level of security for every account, so it’s on the email user to proactively utilize these protections.
When logging into your Gmail account, you might be asked to send a code to a cell phone number or open the Gmail app on your mobile device.
3. Run the Google Security Checkup
Running a Google security checkup will show recommendations based on your existing settings. Google provides this health check for free, and it’s a simple, easy way to protect your account against targeted attacks. For example, this health check might assess your account and your organization and recommend you enroll in the Advanced Protection Program. It also might unveil third-party access to your data, which you might have authorized or not. Remove any programs with extensive access to your personal information, and whose developers’ information hasn’t been verified by Google.
Follow the recommendations provided by Google to secure your account and protect your emails.
4. Consider Using Confidential Mode
Gmail also automatically provides the option to use Confidential Mode. Free to use, it offers the ability to encrypt emails, auto-delete on an expiration date, and require a verification code to open any messages. It’s easy to turn on in your Gmail settings and provides great peace of mind.
5. Proactively Save Emails to PDF for Backup
While you can work hard to secure your emails proactively, it’s still possible for your Gmail account to get hacked.
If the worst-case scenario happens and your Gmail account gets hacked, having a proactive backup of your emails is life-saving. Use cloudHQ’s Save Emails to PDF as a backup of your emails to create a safe, secure record of your email communication. With emails saved as PDFs, you’ll be able to reference critical communication, shipping info, client chats, inventory orders, invoices, and other critical business information.
Used by over 100,000 businesses globally, Save Emails to PDFs helps you save email conversations to your hard drive with one click.
Save Emails to PDFs also saves your emails to your hard drive, creating a local backup under your control. Instead of solely relying on public cloud servers, you can feel confident you have a backup record of all your emails on your own systems.
Start protecting your data with cloudHQ today.