Almost seven years ago, Google introduce two-step authentication to Gmail accounts. Acclaimed at the time as being a necessary step towards increased email security, today’s statistics reveal something startling.
According to the most recent data, less than 10 percent of active Gmail accounts have adopted two-factor authentication. The same study, shared at the Usenix Enigma security conference in early 2018, revealed that it is estimated less than 12 percent of Gmail’s American users employ password managers to protect their accounts. From what can be gathered from these two bullet points is that perhaps email security is not as high a priority to users as the industry originally thought.
Prior to Google’s two-factor email authentication practice seven years ago, email security was notoriously exposed. In large part, guessing a password is all it took to get into an account and from there, seemingly endless damage could be done. Though Google has encouraged more of its users to select two-factor authentication, evidently most have rejected the idea. As it pertains to suggestions of making two-factor authentication mandatory, Google has made statements communicating uncertainty regarding how many users they may lose if additional security steps were put into play across all accounts.
We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take precautions to ensuring any and all private date you put online is being protected to the utmost degree. If you have not enabled two-factor authentication on your Gmail account yet, please do so. The two-step process is very simple, requiring a user to put in a password and also, gain authorization on another device such as a smartphone. This way, if someone does get hold of your password, they won’t be able to get anywhere with it sans stealing your selected device as well. Though it is unfortunate having to be put through more than one security step, the increasing number of hacks on some of the world’s biggest corporations means it’s getting near a necessity.
Security is a growing theme in email design and development, particularly with Google’s Gmail accounts. Heuristics have been employed to detect uncharacteristic behaviour on an account, such as shutting down notifications to the owner, copying contact lists, and/or installing a filter that can be used to mask certain actions. To their credit, Google continues to put in the work to ensure its users’ information is being adequately protected. Thus far, the company has been successful at identifying email hacking attempts and is notably vigilant, alerting users of any seemingly suspicious activity happening on their account.
Email-based attacks are becoming more frequent. Phishing scams, corporate hacking, and email impersonation have likely touched at least one person in all of our lives. There is a growing list of techniques used by hackers to gain access to email accounts. By not taking advantage of two-factor authentication, that leaves an email account exposed to these attacks.
Today, we encourage as many of our partners and readers as we can to enable two-factor authentication. In the long run, it will end up saving you time, money, and hassle, and will keep your private information secure. Remember, the better equipped users are to fend off attacks, the more likely they are to stop an attack and/or be notified of an attack that is ongoing. In time, expect two-factor authentication to become a key part of email security.