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Whether watching YouTube videos or accessing email, nearly everyone uses Google in one form or another. You probably want to keep your account secure regardless of how you use Google. You wouldn’t want anyone gaining access to your private emails or personal files. You can try to monitor your accounts and look daily for changes not made by you, but that is time-consuming and nearly impossible if you have a ton of information stored on Google. There is an easier way to check for unauthorized access by letting Google do some work for you. Continue reading to learn how.
Check for Unknown Devices
The fastest and easiest way to monitor your account is through the security settings for your Google account. You can use this direct link to access the security settings.
You also can open your Google account and select Manage Your Google Account, then Security.
Once in the security settings, you can choose “Manage All Devices.” Under the heading for “Your Devices,” you will see all the devices that have signed in to your account for the past 28 days.
Browse this list of devices carefully to ensure you recognize each one. You’ll see the device type (Mac, iPhone 13, iPad, and so on) and the last time you used the login. You may want to use this time to remove any older devices you no longer use.
If there is a device you don’t recognize, you should remove it immediately by selecting “More Details” and then “Sign Out” You also can click on the three dots on the left side of each device to open a drop-down menu. You can also choose to sign out of the device from this menu.
Check Unwanted Third-Party Apps and Sign-Ins
Another way hackers can tap into your Google account is through mobile apps and website logins. To secure this part of your account, you should go to the permissions center in your Google account and review all the listed apps and services.
You will see the listed apps first. Each entry will list the app’s name and what it has access to, such as Gmail, Google Docs, contacts, etc. You can click on an app entry and select “Remove access” to remove it from tapping into your account.
Google also lets you use your credentials to log into websites and services. Below the third-party apps is a list of all the sites you log in to with your Google account. Similar to the apps, you can remove these websites and services by selecting the login you want to remove and selecting “Remove Access.”
Change Your Password
After cleaning up your Google account, you should probably change the password. Switching it regularly protects your account even if your password is leaked because of an unexpected data breach. If you change your password frequently, you can rest easy knowing that the now publicly-available password is no longer valid.
You can change your password as follows:
- Open your Google Account and sign in if needed.
- Under the “Security” menu select Signing into Google.
- Choose Password. You might need to sign in again.
- Enter your new password, then select Change Password.
Once you change your password, you’ll have to log in again on all your devices and apps with this new password.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
For added security, you can enable two-factor authentication on your Google account. This extra security requires you to confirm your identity using another device. It significantly reduces the chance someone can access your account. Not only would someone have to know your username and password, but they would also need access to your phone.
It only takes a few minutes to enable two-factor authentication on your Google account.
- Open your Google Account.
- In the navigation panel, select Security.
- Under “Signing in to Google,” select 2-Step Verification and then Get started.
- Follow the on-screen steps to enable 2FA.
Once two-factor authentication is enabled, you must confirm your identity every single time you log in. You will receive and need to enter a short numeric code that Google will send you via a text or voice message. Just be careful not to give someone else this code. It is the last line of protection from hackers and scammers.