Google is turning on two-step verification by default to make your data more secure – what you need to know

In celebration of World Day, Google makes two-factor authentication the rule

Acer Chromebook 514
(Image credit: Acer)

Google has announced that it intends to enroll all users in its two-step verification (2SV), provided their accounts are appropriately configured. The news came yesterday, which was world password day – a day dedicated to promoting safer password practices.

Two-step verification has been offered by Google since 2011 and various improvements to the process have been made over the years. Text and email notifications were expanded to allow the use of Bluetooth keys and, more recently, the use of the Google Prompt. 

Even if you use a strong unique password on your account, a two-step process offers an added layer of protection that is far more difficult to hack. As part of the Security Checkup you can configure your account and specify the methods of verification you want available. Google’s own Authenticator app generates new verification codes that can be used for login on a range of different programs, such as Facebook and even work tools, like Hubspot.

For Google access, Android devices work as security keys, prompting you to confirm that it’s you logging in on another device. Meanwhile, iOS users can download the Google Smart Lock app to allow iPhones to work in the same way.

If you haven’t done already, I’d recommend making use of a password manager, such as LastPass, Apple Keychain or Google Password Manager. It avoids repeating passwords across different programs and stops you from having to reset your password every time you forget it.

Adding two-step verification can feel like a pain but if it means your data stays safe, it’s worth the slight inconvenience. Most of us have our phones with us at all times, so using it to confirm a login is no real hardship.

Mat Gallagher

As T3's Editor-in-Chief, Mat Gallagher has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. He has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chicago is now based in the UK. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, Apple, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.