Friday Freebie: Keep Your Google Drive Safe with the Google Authenticator App

Today's Friday Freebie isn't as glamorous or thrilling as some of my other offerings, but this free app is a "must have" if you use your Google account often (and let's face it, most of us do nowadays). It's called the Google Authenticator App and it adds a layer of security to your Google account. It does this through 2-step verification.

Two-step verification is a more secure way to log in to an account. Many services offer it, like Google , Facebook, Twitter, and more. It is safer than just a password, because 2-step verification relies on two things - (1) something you know and (2) something you have. The thing you know is your username and password. The thing you have is your smartphone with the Authenticator app on it. The app generates 6 digit codes that change at timed intervals. When you attempt to log in to your Google account from any computer, you enter your username and password and Google asks for the 6 digit code that is displayed on your phone.  Enter that and you're in. 

I need to note that Google offers other ways to enable 2-step verification. You can have it send you a text message or you can use a USB key fob that you can purchase online. I've found that the Authenticator app works best for me as I usually have my phone with me. Also note that, by default, there will be a check under the sign in area that says "Remember this computer for 30 days." I always take that check off for added security.

To use the app, you will first need enable two step verification for our Google account. There are simple to follow directions HERE. If you are using a Google Apps for Education  (GAFE) account and the option for 2-step verification isn't available, contact your school's GAFE administrator to enable the service for your domain.


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