Google strengthens Gmail security Users offered two-step sign-in

14 February 2011

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Google is offering gmail users a two-level authentication measure to stop their accounts from being hacked.

The advanced opt-in security feature, known as ‘2-step verification’, is aimed at making accounts ‘significantly more secure’ by helping to confirm to the company that users are the real owners of an account, Google said.

The '2-step verification’ feature requires a password and a code, which is obtained using the consumer’s phone.

Once users have signed up to 2-step verification, Google said, they will be taken to a page prompting them for a code when they sign in to their account.

If you would like some advice around protecting your security online, take a look at our Which? guide. 

After entering their password, Google will either call users with the code, send them an SMS message or give them the choice of generating the code themselves using a mobile application on their android, BlackBerry or iPhone device. After correctly submitting their password, users then enter the code.

Writing on the Gmail blog, Nishit Shah, product manager, with Google Security, said: ‘It's an extra step, but it's one that significantly improves the security of your Google account because it requires the powerful combination of both something you know — your username and password — and something that only you should have — your phone.

‘A hacker would need access to both of these factors to gain access to your account.’

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