Secure your passwords

Passwords are the first line of defense against cyber criminals. It’s crucial to pick strong passwords that are different for each of your important accounts and it is good practice to update your passwords regularly. Follow these tips to create strong passwords and keep them secure.

Use a unique password for each of your important accounts like email and online banking

Choosing the same password for each of your online accounts is like using the same key to lock your home, car and office – if a criminal gains access to one, all of them are compromised. So don’t use the same password for an online newsletter as you do for your email or bank account. It may be less convenient, but picking multiple passwords keeps you safer.

Keep your passwords in a secret place that isn’t easily visible

Writing down your passwords isn’t necessarily a bad idea. But if you do this, don’t leave notes with your passwords in plain sight, on your computer or desk.

Use a long password made up of numbers, letters and symbols

The longer your password is, the harder it is to guess. So make your password long to help keep your information safe. Adding numbers, symbols and mixed-case letters makes it harder for would-be snoops or others to guess or crack your password. Please don’t use ‘123456’ or ‘password,’ and avoid using publicly available information like your phone number in your passwords. It’s not very original, and it isn’t very safe!

Try using a phrase that only you know

One idea is to think of a phrase that only you know, and make it be related to a particular website to help you remember it. For your email you could start with “My friends Tom and Jasmine send me a funny email once a day” and then use numbers and letters to recreate it. “MfT&Jsmafe1ad” is a password with lots of variations. Then repeat this process for other sites.

Set up your password recovery options and keep them up-to-date

If you forget your password or get locked out, you need a way to get back into your account. Many services will send an email to you at a recovery email address if you need to reset your password, so make sure your recovery email address is up-to-date and an account you can still access.

Sometimes you can also add a phone number to your profile to receive a code to reset your password via text message. Having a mobile phone number on your account is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to help keep your account safe.

For example, service providers can use the phone number to challenge those who try to break into your account, and can send you a verification code so you can get into your account if you ever lose access. Giving a recovery phone number to Google won’t result in you being signed up for marketing lists or getting more calls from telemarketers.

Your mobile phone is a more secure identification method than your recovery email address or a security question because, unlike the other two, you have physical possession of your mobile phone.

However, if you can’t or don’t want to add a phone number to your account, many websites may ask you to choose a question to verify your identity in case you forget your password. If the service you’re using allows you to create your own question, try to come up with a question that has an answer only you would know and isn’t something that you’ve posted about publicly or shared on social media.

Try to find a way to make your answer unique but memorable – you can do this by using the tip above – so that even if someone guesses the answer, they won’t know how to enter it properly. This answer is very important for you to remember – if you forget it you may never be able to get back into your account.

Safety tools

Discover the Top 5 Google online safety features designed to help you keep your family safe online.

Google Accounts

Make your Google Account even more secure

You can add an extra layer of security to your Google Account by enabling 2-step verification. If you have 2-step verification turned on, Google will send a passcode to your mobile phone when someone tries to sign into your account from an unfamiliar computer. This means that if someone steals or guesses your password, the potential attacker still can’t sign in to your account because they don’t have your phone. Now you can protect yourself with something you know (your password) and something you have (your phone).

Learn more

Access your settings by clicking your name or picture in the right corner then clicking Account.

At the top, click Security. In the Password box, click Setup next to “2-Step verification.”

You will then see a step-by-step guide which will help you through the setup process.

You’ll then be taken back to 2-step verification settings. Review your settings and add backup phone numbers.

You’re done! Next time you sign in, you’ll receive an SMS with a verification code.

Chrome

Browse the web in private

You can use Incognito Mode in the Chrome browser on your computer, tablet, or phone to browse the web privately. In Incognito Mode, the pages you visit and files you download aren’t recorded in Chrome’s browsing or download history.

Learn more

Click the Chrome menu on the browser toolbar → Click New Incognito Window.

A new window will open with the incognito icon in the corner. To exit, simply close the window.

Google Accounts

Your Google Account, your way

On your Account settings page, you can see services and information associated with your Google Account and change your security and privacy settings.

Learn more

Access settings by clicking your name or picture in the right corner, then clicking Account.

Google Accounts

Get an alert if your name appears on the web

Me on the Web can help you understand and manage what people see when they search for you on Google. It helps you set up Google Alerts so you can monitor if information about you appears online, and it automatically suggests some search terms you may want to keep an eye on.

Learn more

Sign in to your Google Account and navigate to the “Me on the Web” section.

Click Manage my Web Alerts, and then click the red button to create an alert.

Your name will show up in the text field. Click the text field to view more suggested alerts.

Click Add to add an alert. Click the pencil icon to make edits, and the trash can icon to delete.

In the “How often” drop-down, choose the frequency of alerts.

Google Accounts

Manage the data stored in your Google Account

Google Dashboard shows you what's stored in your Google Account and provides an overview of some of your recent account activity. From one central location, you can easily view your data and activity and access your settings for services such as Blogger, Calendar, Docs, Google+ and more.

Learn more

Visit Dashboard to see a summary of the data associated with your Google Account and manage your personal settings.

From here, see and manage data stored in your Google Account.

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