Gmail Security: Google Announces 2-Step Account Verification

google_2stepGoogle® has announced that they have added an advanced sign-in security method for Google account holders in an effort to help combat the hacking of gmail accounts. The new 2-step verification method — which was first offered to Google Apps customers last September — is now being implemented for gmail customers.


Also known as two factor authentication, the method requires you to add two telephone numbers to your account — a primary phone (cell) that is easily accessible by you when you sign in, and a backup phone (home or business land line or friend/family member) if you lose your primary phone.

Here is an overview of the new sign-in process:

  1. Go to your account login page and enter your username and password.
  2. When prompted to enter your verification code, enter the code sent to you via your primary phone.
  3. Optional: Click the check box next to "Remember verification for this computer for 30 days".

Enabling 2-Step Verification For Your Account

To set it up, look on your Account Settings page for the new "Using 2-step verification" link under Personal Settings/Security. Not all accounts have been enabled with the service, however, so you may have to wait until they get to your account. Currently, Google is displaying an announcement about future implementation of the 2-step verification service that you'll see after logging in to let you know that they haven't enabled your account yet. Clicking the 2-step link will also display the same notice.

Google Apps users might have to access the 2-step verification setup through a special URL. If you don't manage your domain yourself, check with your domain administrator.

During the setup process you can choose to receive your verification codes as a text message or automated voice message, depending upon which phone is being setup.

After you set up you phone(s) to receive verification codes, you'll also receive ten backup codes, which can be used once each as a substitute for a verification code in cases when you don't have access to either of your phones.

Google also has a Google Authenticator application available for Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and BlackBerry devices for generating your verification codes. See their site page for detailed information on the Google Authenticator application.

Find out more about 2-step verfication...

Turning it off...

Should you decide to turn off 2-step verification, you can do so through your Account Settings page.
If you were using application-specific passwords for accessing  your Google Apps, you need to revoke and destroy each password and return to regular passwords. More on turning off 2-step verification...

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