Wednesday, October 28, 2009

GMail Security In National Cyber Security Awareness Month And Beyond

GMail Security
Being aware of security is a part of day to day life now in the cyber world (and regular world as well). But being a Google Centric person, My main connection to the cyber world comes through GMail, as it is the first and the last thing that I check, use everyday. There are tons of other accounts and sites that I log in during the day and the security measures I take at the first site is repeated on all the other sides.
I have my own computers and very rarely use public computers or other peoples computers. But if I do, I will start off with a new browser and I am done, I log off and clear up the browser's cache, cookies and history, just like the GMail blog advised as a part of the activities for National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
But I try to avoid using public computers as much as possible, by using smartphones like iPhone, Android or BlackBerry which Google provides most of its services.
I always use Secure HTTP or HTTPS for all my sensitive connections. Some pages automatically use HTTPS but on some, you need to set it.
On GMail, login page is secure but if you would like to use secure HTTP on your GMail session, you need to set it. Open Settings and choose "Always use HTTPS" on the General tab if you want to turn it on.
On my notebook, or desktop, I have a single browser window and multiple tabs opened for various Google services like Google Voice, Google Docs, Google Blogger, Google Webmaster, Google Analytics and Google Sites. This way, when I log out from one tab, the rest get logged out automatically.
But there are other practices that one should follow to keep oneself secure and trouble free, online;

Once you send an email, you're no longer in control of the information it contains. So be aware of what you are sending, read twice and think twice, specially when you send sensitive information.
 To help protect you from viruses and malware, Gmail automatically scans every attachment when it's delivered to you, and again each time you open a message. Attachments you send are also scanned. That said, no system is foolproof, so if you happen to get an email from a friend with an attachment you didn't expect, don't be afraid to ask the sender what it is before you decide whether to open it.
Your account recovery information helps you regain access to your account if you ever forget your password, or if someone gains access to your account without your permission. We currently offer several paths to account recovery. Every Gmail user must select a security question and answer — be sure to choose a combination that is easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess or come across by investigating. Don't choose a question like "What is my favorite color?" as others may easily guess the answer. We also encourage you to provide a secondary email address and/or a mobile phone number, so we can send you a link to reset your password if you lose access to your account.

There are more information on the GMail Blog post:Official Gmail Blog: Gmail account security tips


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