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  • Do you ever use the same password for multiple websites? Do you ever sign in to Google Mail

  • from a public or shared computer? Such actions weaken your password and make it easier to

  • steal. Google now offers 2-step verification, an optional security feature that helps protect

  • your account even if your password is stolen or cracked. This new feature helps improve

  • security because signing in requires 2 things -- something you know -- your password -- and

  • something you have -- your phone. It’s much like what you might see on your banking website.

  • With 2-step verification, you'll get a short numeric code -- known as a verification code

  • -- on your phone. You'll then enter this in addition to your username and password when

  • you sign in. Let’s take a look at how youll sign in

  • with 2-step verification. After you sign in with your username and password, Google will

  • ask you for a verification code. If you chose to receive a text or voice message

  • when you set up 2-step verification, Google will then send it to you on your phone. If

  • youre an Android, BlackBerry, or iPhone user, you can also choose to generate a code

  • on your phone using the Google Authenticator app.

  • Enter the code from your phone. If you trust this computer you can check this

  • box and you won’t be asked for another verification code for 30 days.

  • To set up 2-step verification, sign in to your Google Account and go to your Account

  • Settings page. Then, click "Using 2-step verification." On the next screen, click "Set up 2-step verification."

  • Follow the directions on your screen to choose how to receive 2-step verification codes.

  • You can receive your verification code in an SMS text message, in a voice call to your

  • landline or mobile phone, or by generating a code using the free

  • Google Authenticator app on your Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

  • But what if your phone is unavailable, lost, or stolen? Next youll add two backup options

  • for receiving verification codes. Write down or print your backup verification

  • codes. You can use these in case your phone is not

  • available or if you are traveling. Keep them in a safe and accessible place.

  • Youll also need to add a backup phone that you can use if you lose access to your primary

  • phone. This can be a work or home phone, or the phone of someone you trust, like a friend

  • or family member. 2-step verification protects your Google Account

  • whenever you sign in from a web browser. However, devices and applications -- like smartphones,

  • the Picasa desktop application, and Microsoft Outlook -- can't ask you for verification

  • codes, only your username and password. In order to help keep these applications safe,

  • youll need to use a special password, called an application-specific password, instead

  • of your regular account password. Application-specific passwords are generated by Google upon your

  • request, and you do not need to remember them since you should only need to enter them once!

  • To illustrate, let's set up the Mail app on an iPhone using an application-specific password.

  • First you need to create an application-specific password. Go to your Account Settings page

  • and click "Authorizing applications & sites." Enter the name of the application this password

  • is for -- in this case, "Gmail on my iPhone." Then, click generate.

  • Enter the application-specific password on your iPhoneAnd youre done!

  • We know application-specific passwords are long and hard to remember -- that's why you

  • don't have to! You should only need to enter these passwords once per application or device,

  • and you can always revoke and generate a new password if needed.

  • Thanks for trying 2-step verification and kudos to you for taking extra steps to protect

  • your account!

Do you ever use the same password for multiple websites? Do you ever sign in to Google Mail

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