Gmail Security Tips.In the email we have practically all the information about our private life: the invoices that arrive with the details of the consumption that you do at home, hotel reservations with personal data, purchase confirmations and even registration with locations of where you have been. Therefore, it is essential to maintain privacy in Gmail to keep all our personal data, confidential work and personal emails and all relevant information safe.
Gmail Security Tips;10 Methods You Must Know
There are several options to configure and improve privacy in Gmail . We can know if others have read our messages or prevent them from doing so, we can encrypt emails or we can control who has accessed our account in the last hours in case someone is trying to read our personal data.
General safety tips
There are some basic Gmail security tips that we can always follow, regardless of whether you want to follow the steps below or not. They are basic and any user should take them into account even if they use email for trivial matters.
Choose a strong password
Choose strong passwords that you do not use in other services in case they have been hacked. Use different passwords if you have multiple emails or Google accounts. And use whenever you can several types: letters, numbers, uppercase, lowercase, symbols. Avoid obvious passwords like 1234 or your first and last name. And change your password periodically every few months to improve the security of your account whenever possible.
To change the password we must go to:
- Open Gmail
- Go to your profile picture in the upper right
- Tap on “Manage your Google account”
- Go to the “Personal information” section
- In “Basic information” look for “Password”
Here you can enter the current password and add a new one.
Use the section “Security review”
It is not an option of Gmail itself to improve privacy but of Google. But this section allows us to control a series of aspects or options such as two-step verification, access to third parties, recent security activity. It is convenient that you use it frequently to check that everything is correct.
What it allows us is to see if everything is OK or not. It is easy since an icon will appear in each of the sections. We will see a green check when the security review is correct and a circle with a yellow exclamation that indicates that something needs to be improved or that you do not have that option configured in Google.
One of the best ways to improve privacy in Gmail is to check which devices there are that have a login to your Google account. It may be registered in computers or mobile phones that you do not know and that means that there is someone who is reading your emails without you knowing. Keep in mind that we can check this with our Google account and not only with Gmail, so you will generally see that there is a login on your phone and your computer but it is also possible that there is a smart speaker connected.
You just have to go to the “Security review” and open the “Your devices” section . Once here you will see the devices in which you have logged in from that Gmail account. To exit or delete one, just go to it and log out, but this may not be possible. In that case, touch on the three points of each of the devices and choose the option “Close session”.
Who accesses your account
One of the most frequent problems or concerns is that someone is reading our emails without our permission. There may be authorized applications that have access to our Google account because we have allowed it but we do not remember it or they have simply accessed by automatically downloading them, giving permissions from the phone. In that case, we can go to the “Google security check” section and the “Third party access” section.
Here we will see all the applications that have access to your data and possible sensitive information. It depends on what you have previously authorized, more or fewer applications will appear. The normal thing is that WhatsApp has access to copies in Google Drive or others like Dropbox but it is not normal nor should it be that there are games with authorization, for example.
If you want to delete any of them, you can tap on “Remove access” . Keep in mind that not all these applications or programs have access to your emails but it is a review of the Google account so they may have access to your contacts or Drive, as is the case with WhatsApp, but not to your emails. Generally we will see it indicated below the name of it . As you can see in the screenshot below.
First, we will see those risk applications that have access to certain data on our account and then the rest of the applications with access to our low risk account. However, any of them could be accessing our mail and reading Gmail messages.
You can block addresses that are bothering you, that pose a problem. All of them go directly to the spam folder. To do this, you must go to the email you want and touch the three points that we see in the upper right corner of it. Here, choose the option “Block to …” Automatically all emails from that person will go directly to spam so you will not see them in the inbox.
Once we have already blocked addresses, we can go to the Security Review of our Google account and in “Gmail Settings” we will see the email addresses that are blocked in case they have been by mistake. In that case, you can touch on “Unlock all” although it is something that we do not recommend.
If you want to unblock or create filters, go to “Gmail Settings” and “Filters and blocked addresses”. Here you will see all the senders that you have blocked and you will be able to touch “unblock” on the right side of each of them independently. You can also check the boxes on the left side and go all the way to tap on “Unblock selected addresses” if you want to do it in bulk.
Prevent them from knowing that you have read the email
There are many companies or users that use a reading or tracking tracker that allows us to know if we have read the mail or not. For many people, this may be violating our privacy since there is someone who knows whether or not we open an email. In that case, there are ways around it that will make us untraceable. The first thing to keep in mind is that the read trackers are not visible by default. That is, you do not know if that email is prepared with a tool that makes the person who sends it know if you have received it or not. But we can see and block them with some extensions available for Google Chrome and other browsers such as Mozilla Firefox.
As a first option we have Ugly Email, an extension for Chrome that also works with Firefox and that is capable of blocking Gmail read traces. With this extension installed in the browser, we will see how the messages that we receive in the Gmail inbox and that have some reading tracking, will appear with an icon of an eye to indicate that the email contains a tracker.
Ugly Email blocks these read traces by default, so we will not have to do anything to prevent the sender from knowing that we have read it. That is, we can open the messages without any problem as long as we have the extension installed in the browser and it is activated.
It is available to download for Google Chrome or Firefox and we can download it directly from its website or from the application store of one or the other browser. You will simply see the eye next to the email and the sender will not know that you have opened that email or that you have read it.
Beyond Ugly Email there are other tools with the same purpose: block trackers , prevent them from knowing that you have read or opened the email. PixelBlock is another extension that allows us to block trackers in Gmail when we use the Google web browser. Unlike Ugly Email, PixelBlock does not notify us of email messages that have read tracking before opening them, but it does so inside , since it shows us a warning in the upper part of the body of the message.
Trocker is another extension that has been designed with the same purpose, to notify us of those emails that we receive in Gmail and that have trackers or read traces and to prevent the sender of the message from knowing if we have read it or not. It is available free for Chrome like the previous ones.
One way to protect your email is to encrypt messages sent by Gmail. Although we use services that offer a high level of security when sending our messages, whether they are text or mail, this does not prevent the information included in them from falling into the hands of third parties. To avoid this, we can make use of some specialized extensions.
For example, an extension to encrypt messages with a password is Mailvelope, which has been developed for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and which allows you to encrypt Gmail messages with a password so that no one who does not know said password can access the messages. It allows us to add an additional level of security to the sending of our emails and that they cannot be read by anyone.
Mailvelope is available for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, so we will be able to use it without any problem if we use one of these two web browsers on our PC. To start using Mailvelope and encrypt Gmail messages with a password, the first thing we have to do is go to the Chrome or Firefox extension store and add it to our browser.
Once this is done, we click on the Mailvelope icon that appears next to the address bar of our browser and we can start with its configuration. To do this, it will show us three options, Dashboard , Set of keys and File encryption , although it will also offer us the option to access the advanced options. We select the option Set of keys and we will automatically be shown a page in which we can either generate a key or import it if we already have one on another device.
Generate key for the first time
If it is the first time we use Mailvelope, click on the button Generate key and then we will be asked to indicate the name of the owner of the key, email and password . From the advanced options we can also choose the encryption algorithm, the size of the key and if we want it to expire on a specific date or not.
Click on Generate key and in a few moments we will see how our set of keys is generated and we will now have it available to encrypt Gmail messages with a password so that no one who does not have the password can read them. Now, if we click on the extension icon again and access the instrument panel> manage keys , we will see how our set of keys that we just created appears.
We must also check our Gmail inbox, since at the time of creating our set of keys, we will have received an email to verify the encryption key and activate it . The message itself will arrive encrypted and we will have to use the previously chosen password to access it and be able to click on the verification link that Mailvelope will have sent us.
There we will find a lot of text with letters and numbers that is the key that we will have to use and share with the contacts to whom we send encrypted or password-protected Gmail messages. Therefore, we will have to copy it and save it somewhere safe , since from the panel of the extension itself it will not be seen for security reasons.
To send an email encrypted with a password, all we have to do is click on the Compose button in Gmail and there we will see how an icon with a blank sheet and a yellow pencil will appear in the body of the message. By clicking on it, a new window will open in which we can compose our email message and then click on Encrypt . Automatically, we will see how our message is encrypted and it will be how it reaches the recipient or recipients of it.