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Tips & Tricks

How to Protect Your Google and Facebook Accounts

Google Facebook Two-Factor AuthenticationIf you’re like me you’ve probably gotten an email or Facebook comment with a subject like “OMG! I can’t believe he did that! from a good friend or co-worker. Most people quickly realize that their friend’s account has been compromised. There’s no doubt the victim then gets a message from several people stating “Your Facebook account has been hacked.”

I’ll admit this sort of thing scares me. Not only can it be embarrassing depending on the ‘nature’ of the message sent but I start to question what else these hackers did with all the information in those accounts.

I recently enabled Google’s 2-Step Verification on my account. I have to say I certainly feel a lot better after setting it up. In my line of work, I am in a constant battle with security versus convenience. It’s been said that if you really want to protect your computer, then unplug it from the Internet. In our cloudified world, we need to take reasonable steps to keep our data secure. By the way, 2-Step verification, or two-factor authentication, is not a new concept. It’s been in the enterprise for quite some time and you might have run into it at some point.

How does this whole thing work? Let’s start with the Google Account.

Setting Up Two-Factor Authentication with Google

  1. Login to your Google Account or go to
  2. Under Personal Settings, click on “Using 2-Step Verification”
  3. Google will walk you through the next steps. It will use an application on your smartphone to confirm your identity.
  4. Google will also create a backup method in case you are without your smartphone.
  5. Lastly, you’ll see a set of backup codes which you should print out and keep in a safe place.

Now the fun begins (I’ll admit it takes some getting used to). You’ll be logged out of your Google account and when you login next you will enter your password as normal. You will then be asked for your verification code which you pull up on your smartphone app. It’s actually pretty simple once you’ve used it once or twice. There are a few other steps you may have to go through but the setup wizard on the Google Accounts page is pretty helpful so make sure you read all the details.

Setting Up Two-Factor Authentication with Facebook

This one is a bit more simple. Basically, you are going to use a text message to verify the computers you use Facebook with.

  1. Login to your Facebook account.
  2. Go to the Account Settings page.
  3. In the Account Security section, check off “Secure Browsing (https)“. This will encrypt your traffic.
  4. Next, under Login Approvals, click the checkbox “Require me to enter a security code sent to my phone“.

From this point forward, each time you login on a new computer, you will not only be prompted for your password but you will also be sent a text message with a verification code. You don’t have to do this every time you login to Facebook, just the first you login from a new computer.

It’s important to be focused and take your time when doing both of these since you could lock yourself out of your accounts. Once it’s set up, you’ll have peace of mind that you are far more secure and the hassle really isn’t all the bad. I’ve had to help quite a few people cleanup messes like this and I can assure you that setting up these functions are definitely worth the time.

enabled it on my account