Keeping your account secure
At Google, we take account security very seriously. To ensure that your computer and account remain safe, we strongly recommend following these steps regularly:
- Check for viruses and malware. Run a scan on your computer with a trusted anti-virus software. If the scan detects any suspicious programs or applications, remove them immediately. Read more.
- Perform an account Security Checkup. Go to your Account settings page and select Get Started in the Security checkup section. From there, follow the on-screen instructions to make sure your account is secure.
- Regularly update your account recovery options. Make sure to update your account recovery options to check that they are always up-to-date.
- Enroll in 2-step verification. 2-step verification adds an extra layer of security to your account by requiring you to sign in with something you know (your password) and something you have (a code sent to your phone).
- Perform regular operating system and browser updates. We recommend enabling your automatic update setting, and updating when you get a notification, which you can do in Mac OS. To check for browser updates in Internet Explorer, select the Tools tab and click Windows Update. In Firefox, click the Firefox menu on the browser's menu bar and select About Firefox. Once the About Firefox window opens, any updates will be downloaded automatically. Note that Google Chrome automatically updates to a newer version when one is released.
- Never use your Google Account password on another website. If you enter your password in an external website and it's compromised, someone could try to sign in to your Google Account with the same information.
- Protect your password. Never enter your password after following a link in an email from an untrusted site. Always go directly to mail.google.com or www.google.com/accounts/Login. Also, never send your password via email. Google will never email you to ask for your password or other sensitive information.
If you use Gmail:
- Update your recovery email address and your security question. This will help you recover your account if you ever lose access to it. Make sure that you have access to the email address listed as your recovery, and the answer to your security question is easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess. Read more.
You should also be sure to:
- Never tell anyone your password; if you do tell someone, change it as soon as possible.
- Use a strong password, and don't write it down or send it via email.
- Run scans and change your password immediately after noticing any changes in your account that you didn't initiate.
- Always sign out of your account when you're using public computers. Just click your name or email address at the top of the page, and select Sign out.
- Clear forms, passwords, cache, and cookies in your browser on a regular basis, especially on a public computer.
If you believe that your account has been compromised, please reset your password immediately.
For more tips about online safety, visit Google's Safety Center.
Kaley is on the Accounts support team and author of this help page. Please leave suggestions below on how to improve her article.