Google will be adding an extra layer of security — Google Authenticator — to their accounts in order to combat the growing threat of hackers and raise confidence in services such as Docs and Gmail.
The extra security steps won’t be as lengthy or strenuous as waiting a month for your Adsense account verification postcard to come in the mail, or the fifty-question “which friend is this and when’s their birthday” quiz you get when you try to log into your Facebook account from an internet café in Ecuador. Instead, Google will simply text you a code number to enter alongside your password when you’re signing in for the first time on a new browser, computer or device.
This two-step verification ensures that anyone looking to gain access to your information will have to get not only your password, but your cell phone, too.
“Your Gmail account, your photos, your private documents—if you reuse the same password on multiple sites and one of those sites gets hacked, or your password is conned out of you directly through a phishing scam, it can be used to access some of your most closely-held information,” wrote Nishit Shah, security product manager at Google, on the Google blog.
If you’re stuck on a pricey pay-as-you-go plan, or want to avoid the hassle or expenses of a text message or phone call for whatever other reason, Google has also created a phone app called Google Authenticator that can generate a code for you.