Everything you need to know about keeping your Google account safe

Here's how to protect your password and more.

Last week there were inaccurate reports that millions of Google passwords were hacked. It wasn't really the case, but you still should keep your Google account as safe as possible. Here's how to go a long way towards making sure it doesn't get hacked.

Although a list of five million passwords were leaked, each with a Gmail address, those passwords were not necessarily associated with the Gmail addresses, and could have been associated with other accounts. Google's security blog notes that "We found that less than 2% of the username and password combinations might have worked, and our automated anti-hijacking systems would have blocked many of those login attempts. We’ve protected the affected accounts and have required those users to reset their passwords."

Still, you should protect your Google password. And it's easy to do. The best way to do it is with what's called 2-step verification. When you turn it on, you sign in as you would normally. Then a six-digit verification code gets sent to your phone, and you type in that verification code. That way, even if your Google password gets hacked, someone still can't log in because they won't have the verification code.

Here's where to go to turn on 2-step verification.

Note that when you do this, if there are any apps that need to access your Google acount, they won't be able to log in, and so they'll stop working. For those apps, you'll need to enter a special app password instead of your normal Google one. Go here to get all details from Google, and to generate one. And if you have any other problems with 2-step verification, go here to get help.

Whether or not you use 2-step verification, Google has other security tools to help you, including checking the most recent activity associated with your account. It's a good idea to check that regularly, just in case someone else is using your account. Here's where to go to do that and more.

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