Two-step verification (2SV) is a login feature available on many online accounts today. It provides an additional step (but not an added factor) in the authentication process by prompting a user to enter a code sent to their computer or pre-verified device.
2SV therefore has the ability to protect a user’s account in the event that their corresponding password has been compromised.
Further reading: Learn about the difference between two-factor authentication (2FA) and two-step verification (2SV).
One of the most important things a user can protect with 2SV is their Google account, which can be used for personal and business email, social networking on Google+, and other purposes. Provided below is a guide on how you can enable this feature on your Google account.
1. Sign into your Google account.
2. At the top right of your browser screen, you will find a circular icon that either contains the first letter of your username or a picture of yourself. Click on that icon.
3. A profile card containing your username, your full Google email, and a number of buttons will load beneath the icon. Click on the blue button labeled “My Account.”
4. A new tab will load that brings you to the home page for “My Account.” Scroll down on that page and click on the “Sign-in & security” setting.
5. The Google Sign-in & security page will load up. You can use this page to manage the security settings of your account, including setting up a recovery email and phone, changing your password, and conducting a security checkup of your account. You can also set up 2SV here.
Scroll down the page. Under the “Signing in to Google” sub-heading, you will find a box entitled “Password & sign-in method.” In that box, click on “2-Step Verification.” (NOTE: This feature should be labeled “Off” if you have not already enabled 2SV on your account.)
6. On the right-hand sign of the “Signing in with 2-step verification” page that loads up, you will see a box that includes a blue button labeled “Start setup >>”. Click on that button.
7. At this point, Google will likely prompt you to resubmit your login credentials. Enter your password and click the button “Sign in.”
8. Enter your phone number into the available text field and click on one of the radio buttons to indicate whether you want to receive the verification codes via SMS text message or via call. Once Google has verified that you have entered your mobile phone number correctly (i.e. in the format (222) 555-5555), a blue button labeled “Send code” will become clickable at the bottom of your screen. Click that button.
9. A page will load saying that Google has sent you a code. You should receive a code from Google in the next few seconds either via SMS text message or call. Once you have received the six-digit code, enter it into the available text field and press the blue button “Verify.”
10. Next, you will be asked whether Google should trust your computer. This is a setting that allows you to elevate the privilege status of your computer, tablet, or mobile phone so that you don’t have to enter in verification codes when logging into your Google account on that device. A clickable box will appear that will enable you to check off whether you want to trust the device. Check the box ONLY if the device belongs to you and it is not a public device or computer. When you are done, click the blue button labeled “Next.”
11. Click the blue button labeled “Confirm” to finish turning on two-step verification on your Google account.
12. And you’re done! You will be redirected to a page where you can manage the settings of your two-step verification protection feature. On this page, you can edit your pre-verified phone number, create app-specific passwords, manage your registered (i.e. trusted) computers, or even designate a security key if you are using Google’s Chrome browser. (NOTE: Now that you have set up 2SV on your account, a boxed feature to the right of your screen will list the feature as “On.”)
You can also set up a back-up phone and print out or save backup codes that allow you to access your account in the event that you lose your device.
It is STRONGLY recommended that you set up at least one of these two backup settings.
13. Now whenever you sign into your Google account, you will see this screen after you enter in your password.
Simply enter in the code once you receive it via SMS text message or call. If the code is correct, you will automatically be directed to your account.
Now that you have 2SV all set up on your Google account, it’s important to note that there are other ways you can receive a verification code. I discuss one such method, the Google Authenticator app, in a separate article.
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