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It’s not always easy to keep your accounts secure, but with two-factor authentication, it gets much easier. You might already be using it for a number of services, even if you don’t realize it. Usernames and passwords are fairly commonplace b2ap3_large_two_factor_authentication_400for securing digital accounts, but some require you to further prove your identity. We’ll show you how to do this with your Gmail account.

Credentials used in two-factor authentication vary depending on which services are available. It largely depends on the hardware solution; for example, you could have a SMS message sent to your smartphone, or a phone call with an automated recording. Other times it could be a PIN, or a biometric system using a fingerprint scanner or facial recognition software.

You’ll find two-factor authentication on most websites that require personal information from the user, like shopping, banking, or email websites. Gmail specifically offers a setting that lets you set up two-factor authentication in just a few minutes.

  • Log into the computer of your choice, but make sure to keep your phone nearby. The two-factor authentication setup process needs to be performed on a computer.
  • Access Gmail, and click on the icon in the top-right corner of the screen. It will be whatever your account’s profile picture is, or just an iconwith the first letter of your name. Click it to make a menu box appear, and select My Account.
  • This brings you to your Google Account area. On the left side of the screen, you’ll see the option Signing in to Googleright underneath the Sign-in & Security heading. Click it.
  • You’ll be signed into your Google account. Once you’ve done so, look for 2-Step Verification. Make sure it’s set to On. Then, you’ll see an introductory screen. Next, click Get Startedand re-enter your password.
  • You’ll be asked to plug in your phone number. Once you select your country from the drop-down list and input your preferred phone number (a smartphone is recommended), you’ll select to either receive a call, or a text message.
  • Select Try It. You should receive a verification code sent to your phone via your previous selection. Plug the code into the confirmation screen and clickNext.
  • Google will ask if you’d like to turn on two-factor authentication. Since you obviously do, Gmail will display a confirmation window. It will then send you a confirmation email. The next time you log into your Gmail account, you’ll be asked to enter a code that’s been sent to your selected phone.