I just discovered an awesome feature by google for their account login process.
What is 2 Step Verification?
Google’s 2 Step Verification secures your account by requiring you to enter in an additional, randomly generated code which is sent via a txt message to your mobile phone.
Why use it?
This makes it difficult for someone to hack you google account (gmail, document, photos, g+, calendar etc) unless a hacker is able to also steal your physical mobile device.
This in my opinion is extremely important if you are anything like me and keep a lot of important and confidential information locked away in your google accounts. If I were to lose control of this information, I would risk loosing my: web hosting accounts, domain names, credit card details, paypal, trademe, facebook, confidential client information etc.
The 2 Step also service lets you generate application specific passwords that are designed for one time use. So for example, if you use gmail notifier (the small program for windows that lets you know when you have new emails), you can generate a one time use password that grants it access without the 2 Step code.
What if my phone gets lost or stolen?
This is important to note. When you are signing up for the service, it is recommended that you fill in an additional backup phone for use if your’s is not available. I used a family members phone for this. Also, you are provided with a list of 10 backup codes. These are codes that can be used once only and can be used instead of the txt verification code. Print out these numbers and put them in your wallet or somewhere else safe. Remember that even if someone obtains these number, they mean nothing without also knowing you original google password.
What does a 2 Step TXT look like?
This is all it is:
“Your Google verification code is 123456”
Does it cost?
From what I can tell, the service doesn’t cost you anything in New Zealand. I have not got any charges through to my phone for incoming txt’s received from the google service. I was not even charged for the voice call back service. With the call service you actually get an automated call that reads out the code!
Is it a hassle?
Yes it is. However, you stay logged in to google accounts for 30 days so you will not have to keep generating codes each time you use your computer. I think the added hassle is well worth it considering the security benefits gained.