Google recently launched their advanced sign-in security, which makes use of “Two Factor Authentication.” In the case of Google, this is a strategy to prevent unauthorized access to your gmail account. However, securing your email account has far-reaching implications beyond just your email.
Someone getting into your primary email exposes you to identity theft and financial theft, as well as physical burglary. Your account may also become the source of spam email or be used to target your email contacts.
Google’s new authentication works on the same principle used for physical door access, in which two methods of identification are used, which is orders of magnitude better than one. For Google, that means using your login name and password plus a “token,” which is constantly changing (one which you may obtain from your cell phone or other device) to add an extra level of security to your email account. In a physical access control system, the parallel would be the use of both a proximity card or fob and a numeric pin code to gain entry.
In each scenario, you must both have something and know something for access. This double-layered system prevents your password (or PIN) from being hijacked and your accounts being hacked. It is the same principle as your ATM card (which you must have, but you must also know your PIN).
Two factor gmail login adds a small, but reasonable level of inconvenience. Think of what a thief would know (e.g., travel itinerary, addresses, relations, personal codes, maybe your security alarm system password) if they got into your email account, which in many cases is all too easy.
For information on how to set up Google Advanced Sign-In, visit Google’s official blog.