Cool App-titude: Google Authenticator

February 26, 2013
By Rachel Eisenhower

Attacks on private email accounts are on the rise, but a simple added security layer could help keep your personal messages safe from hackers. Gmail account holders can download the Google Authenticator app for iOS or Android, which generates a numeric code for users to enter in addition to their passwords.

How does this help? It drastically reduces the risk of having your personal information stolen, because someone would need access to both your password and your phone to sign into your account.

With 2-step verification, you will sign into your email as usual using your password. You will then be prompted to enter a code, which will be generated by the Google Authenticator app. Simply input the code and access your emails. A new code will be generated each time.

If you're using a trusted computer, you can then check a box asking Google not to require a code again when you sign into that particular machine. Gmail will still ask for the code if you or anyone else tries to sign into your account from another computer.

The app can still send a verification code even if you don't have an Internet connection or mobile service.

Download the free app from the iTunes App Store or Google Play.

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