The Complete Guide to Google 2-Step Verification

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Google 2-step verification

Introduction

In these days of increasing cyber attacks, even most stronger passwords cannot assure a complete protection to your account. You may have your whole business,personal data and other online accounts linked with your google account. What if someone steal your password? They can use your account with password and username, without you being noticing it.

Why you should be serious about your google account?

I can give you many reasons to claim that your google is extremely valuable and you should be getting serious about it:
  • You may have create your Facebook, Paypal and so on online accounts with you Gmail address. If some gets access to your Gmail account, they can reset password of all your online accounts. So putting your google account at risk also mean putting all your online accounts at risk.
  • You may receive monthly bank statements and have personal data in the form of photos and videos.
  • The hacker may use you account for unethical purposes.
  • If you are a blogger or Epreneur, you may have buisiness on google as Blog on Blogspot, Files on Google Drive, Stats on Analytics.
What not, there are several other reasons to convey that it is extremely important to secure your account. 
So here we need an extra layer of security which is called the Two Factor Authentication also called as 2-step verification by Google. And Google is the first internet company to introduce it. This article is a complete guide explaining what is 2-step verification? How to setup? And what are its features? 

How it works

So what actually is the 2-step verification and how it works. Normally when you sign in to your google account, you are asked to enter your Username  and password.
But with 2 step verification enabled you are asked to enter Username, password, and a One-time password, that you received through SMS on your mobile or Google authenticator app (we will discuss this one later). So it is hard for anyone to get into your account, even they have your username and password.


Enable and Setup Google’s 2-step Verification

Steps to Enable 2 step verification

  1. Login to your Google account and head over to Settings > 2-Step verification. Here you may be asked to re-enter your password.
  2. Now click on Start setup. You will be redirected to the setup page.
    2-step-verification-setup-full-border
    Steps to enable 2-step verification (click to enlarge)
  3. In the next page, you are requested to provide your mobile number (if you haven’t provided one yet). If you already registered a mobile number you should verify it again. Check your mobile number and click on Send code.
  4. Now enter the verification code, sent to your mobile number and proceed. Now it asks you to trust this device or not. If it is your device which you use more often, check the option and proceed. Now in this last step click on Confirm to confirm and complete the setup.
That’s all, you have just enabled 2-step verification. Now on every time (unless you trust/register it) you log in to your account, you are asked to provide a verification code along with Username

Reconnecting devices and apps with your Google account

After enabling the 2-step verification, all your devices and apps that are connected to your google account (Like outlook, live writer, Mail on iPhone and I mac ) needs to be reconnected.
To reconnect your device, just provide the password and the one-time password. You can connect the other apps programs like chrome for PC in the similar way.

App-Specific passwords

You cannot reconnect the other apps like Outlook, live writer and most of other apps, with One-time password (OTP) because they don’t have the mechanism to accept OTP’s. So to reconnect these apps Google has a solution called App-Specific Passwords. They are nothing but just a Unique password generated, which you can use as a substitute for your password for only a single app.

Steps to use these passwords and reconnect the apps:

  1. Login to your account and go to your 2-step verification dashboard.
  2. Click on App-Specific passwords. Then click on Manage application-specific passwords button. Or simply click this link.  And now re-enter your password.
  3. On the next page select the App and OS from the drop-down list and click on Generate. If your app is not listed, select Other and enter the app name. After you click on generate, a 16-digit password is generated. Note it down now as you cannot view it later and have to generate new one again.
  4. Now go to the app you want to reconnect and sign in with your Username and this 16-digit password.
  5. If you want to Revoke access to any app after this reconnection, Go to App Passwords, Go to that app and click on Revoke.

Ways to Receive verification codes and Sign in

1.Receiving Codes through SMS

Usually after enabling 2-step verification, by default you receive codes by SMS to your registered mobile number, which you can use to Sign in. You can also add a backup mobile number so that you can still receive codes if you don’t have access to your primary mobile number.
To add a backup number Go to your 2-step verification dashboard, Click on Add a phone number under Backup options. Enter number and click on Save.

2. Google Authenticator app

The most useful, secure and easy way to generate verification codes is using Google authenticator app. The app is officially available from Google for Android, IOS and Blackberry and available for windows phone from a third party developer. Once you install and setup this app, it can generate new and unique codes, which refresh every single minute. The specialty of this app is it uses TOTP technology which can generate codes independently Without any Internet Connection. So you can use this option if you have trouble with your mobile signal or can’t access your mobile number.

Steps to setup Google authenticator app:

The app is available on almost all platforms, but here I will discuss the setup on the android device. You can follow the same steps to setup on your IOS and blackberry device.
QR code and Secret key 2-step verification
  1. Download and install the authenticator app from app store.
  2. Go to your 2-step verification dashboard, click on Switch to app. Select your OS and proceed. Now a popup with a barcode appears. Keep it aside.
  3. Now open the authenticator app on your device. You can setup using Barcode or using a Secret key.
    Screenshots-of-Google-authenticator-setup-android
    Click to enlarge
    • To setup using Barcode (Only for Android and IOS), you should have a barcode scanner app installed on your device else you will be prompted to download one. Open the app and tap on add account. Now tap on Scan account barcode and scan the QR code displayed on your computer with your device camera.
    • To setup manually using Secret key, on setup page on your desktop click on Can’t scan the barcode, a 32-digit alpha-numeric key. Open the app and tap on ‘Setup account / Add account’. Tap on ‘Enter provided key’. Now enter your complete Email address as account name, Enter 32-digit key, select Time-based and click on Add.
  4. To verify its working properly, enter the verification code, thus generated on your app.

3.Backup Codes

print-or-download-Backup-codes
If you doesn’t carry any device with you or don’t want to use above options, this Offline option can be useful. You have to generate these 8-digit numeric codes and take a print of it. 10 codes are generated each time and each code can be used once irrespective of time. Once you used old codes you can generate new one.
To generate Backup codes Go to your 2-step verification dashboard and click on Print/ download under Backup codes.

4.Using a physical USB Security key

A Security key is a physical USB device which makes its more simpler and secure to login. Once you registered a security key with your account, you don’t have to wait for codes. You just have to enter your username, password and plug in your registered security key. To  use this option you have to buy a security key, I recommend Yubico security key, as it is cheaper option out there.
To register a security key:
  1. In your 2-step verification dashboard go to Security keys and click on Add Security key. (Don’t plugin your security yet)
  2. Now in the next page click on Register and then plug in your security key and confirm by touching on the flashing light on security key (in case of Yubico).
You can view Amit Agarwal's video demo on using a security key


That's it, you just registered your security key. You can add multiple security keys to single account and also use single security key with multiple accounts.

Final Words

Google’s 2-step authentication is truly a boon to people who worried about their account security. Though you have to put little effort in setting it up and using it, it is really worth your effort. I strongly recommend you enable and  make use of this valuable security feature, if you are a Blogger, an E-Preneur or even a normal Internet user who don't want to keep their account at risk.

Over To you.....
I had put a lot of effort in creating this guide and make it complete and comprehensive. But if you find anything missing, Please let me know through contact page or simply by commenting below. If you have doubt or trouble regarding 2-step verification, please post them as comments below.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Susheel,

    Good to be over at your blog too :)

    This is surely a wonderfully comprehensive created guide on Google’s 2-step authentication. Honestly speaking, all the apps, codes, and tech work I leave for my better half, as he is a better person to deal with them, so I'd surely be forwarding your post to him to get the most of it.

    Thanks for sharing it with us. Have a nice week ahead :)

    BTW- As you are a ABC member also, do hop in to share your latest posts, not older than 3-4 days with us :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Harleena,
      First of all Thank you for commenting, I am really motivated with your presence here.

      I wrote this guide, as there are no such comprehensive guides on this very important topic. As a blogger a google account mean a lot to us, we have all our accounts linked with it. So I thought this guide will help most of bloggers and even normal users to secure their account.I am feeling glad you found it useful.

      And really want to promote it on Aha! no, but just forgot to do. As this post is older that 4 days, I will surely promote from next time.
      And thanks for sharing it and forwarding it to your partner. I wish you best of luck to you both for further growth in Aha! now community.

      ThankYou

      Delete