People nowadays are very dependent to Email for communication purpose. Therefore, there are lots of confidential important emails located in our mailbox. No matter you are using Gmail, Hotmail or other email providers, the risk of getting viruses, malware or hacked by hackers still exist.
Gmail has released a Gmail Security Checklist for you to check your Gmail account’s security level. I believe this email security checklist is not only useful to Gmail users but to all other email users who are using other email provider’s service.
Let’s just take a minute to examine our mail security level and try to fix it when you find a security hole to protect your email account.
Gmail Security Checklist
There are total 18 items that need to complete and it is divided into 5 parts.
Part 1: Your Computer
i) Check for viruses and malware – scan on your computer with trusted antivirus software. Google had recommended some of virus scanners such as Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus in Google Pack, ESET Smart Security, Kaspersky, Lavasoft Ad-Aware, MacScan (Mac users), Microsoft Security Essentials, Norton Internet security and Spyware Doctor.
ii) Make sure operating system is up to date – Enable PC automatic update setting and install patches released by your Operating systems (Windows or Mac OS)
iii) Make sure to perform regular software updates – normally software updates are not included in your operating system updates. Therefore, you need to check their latest updates which may repair for security vulnerabilities.
Part 2: Your Browser
i) Make sure your browser is up to date
ii) Check browser for plug-ins, extensions, third-party programs that require access to your email account credentials – sometimes you may have downloaded a plugins or extensions that help you to check new email messages. You need to perform regular software checkup to fix the security issues.
Part 3: Your Google Account
i) Change password – we suggest you change Google password periodically. Pick a unique password and do not use dictionary word or common words. The perfect password combination will be numbers, characters and case-sensitive letters.
ii) Check the list of websites that are authorized to access your Google Account data – I also quite surprise to find this information and immediately I went to check my Google Account data and found out my old blogger account was link to it. Therefore I had revoked the website access. It’s important to check as the hackers may authorize their websites to access your account data.
To edit the list of authorized websites:
1. Sign in on the Google Accounts homepage.
2. Click the My Account link displayed at the top right of the page
3. Click Change authorized websites.
4. Click the Revoke Access link to disable access for a site.
iii) Update account recovery options – sometimes we might forget our email password and it’s important for you to update your account recovery options. Just sign in to your Google account and click Change password recovery options.
Part 4: Your Gmail settings
i) Use a secure connection to sign in – Go to Gmail settings and select “Always use HTTPS” setting to protect your information being stolen when you’re signing to Gmail on public wireless network like cyber café.
ii) Check for strange activity on your account – At the bottom of Gmail, you will see the time, date, IP address. When you click the Details link, you will find the location of recent access to you Gmail account.
iii) Confirm the accuracy of your mail settings to ensure that your mail stays and goes where you want it to – click the Gmail Settings link and verify the following settings such as General, Accounts, Filters and Forwarding and POP/IMAP.
Part 5: Final Reminder
i) Watch out for messages that ask for your username and/or password. Gmail will never ask for this information.
ii) Never give out your password after following a link sent to you in a message, even if it looks like Gmail’s sign-in page. Access Gmail directly by typing https://mail.google.com in your browser’s address bar.
iii) Don’t share your password with other websites – Google can’t guarantee the security of other websites and your Gmail password could be compromised.
iv) Keep secrets! Never tell anyone your password, or your secret question and answer; if you do tell someone, change it as soon as possible.
v) Clear forms, passwords, cache and cookies in your browser on a regular basis – especially on a public computer.
vi) Only select ‘Stay signed in’ if you’re signing in from a personal computer.
vii) Always sign out when you’ve finished reading your mail.
I believe if you are able to implement all the above Gmail security checklist, your Gmail is protected for sure and hard to break in by anyone.