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Google launches two-factor authentication

Google just launched two-factor authentication, and I believe everyone with a Google account should enable it.

Two-factor authentication (also known as 2-step verification) relies on something you know (like a password) and something you have (like a cell phone). Crackers have a harder time getting into your account, because even if they figure out your password, they still only have half of what they need. I wrote about two-factor authentication when Google rolled it out for Google Apps users back in September, and I’m a huge fan.

Account hijacking is no joke. Remember the Gawker password incident? If you used the same password on Gawker properties and Gmail, two-factor authentication would provide you with more protection. I’ve also had two relatives get their Gmail account hijacked when someone guessed their password. I’ve also seen plenty of incidents like this where two-factor authentication would have kept hackers out. If someone hacked your Gmail account, think of all the other passwords they could get access to, including your domain name or webhost accounts.

Is it a little bit of extra work? Yes. But two-step verification instantly provides you with a much higher level of protection. I use it on my personal Gmail account, and you should too. Please, protect yourself now and enable two-factor authentication.


Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

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