In celebration of Safer Internet Day, Google is encouraging users to strengthen their online security.
The search giant uploaded a blog post with five essential steps users can take to improve online security.
First up, your accounts should have a recovery phone number or email address. More importantly, Google says you should keep that information up to date.
Recovery information can be essential in maintaining the security of your account and for getting it back if you access or can’t sign in.
Google also urges people to use unique passwords. Some 65 percent of respondents to a U.S. poll the search giant ran said they reuse the same password for multiple accounts. The problem with this is if one account is compromised, a hacker could get into several other accounts as well.
However, remembering a unique password for every single website you use is a near impossible task — especially if you’re ensuring those passwords are hard to guess. Thankfully, password managers can help with that. Options like LastPass or Dashlane can help you make more secure passwords, and those apps will remember them for you.
On the matter of passwords, two-factor authentication (2FA) is another critical security essential for online accounts. There are several different ways to use 2FA, but likely the one most people are familiar with is receiving an SMS code after logging in. Entering that code confirms that it’s you logging into the service.
It’s an essential extra step that can significantly reduce the risk of someone gaining access to your account.
Additionally, Google says it’s important to keep your software up to date. Many people know this, but not everyone actually ensures their devices are up to date.
Finally, Google offers a ‘Security Checkup’ that provides personalized recommendations to help users strengthen the security of their Google Account. This only takes a few minutes to do and can help improve your security.