Secure IT Foundation

Secure Settings #1 – Gmail

Posted on: September 16, 2009

Gmail (Google Mail), as Google’s web based email application, has become one of the most popular methods of accessing email. In return for letting Google read index your emails, they offer large email space, good availability for a free product and it removes the ties to your Internet Service Provider in case you move home.

Like any software application, web applications need secure settings applied. Gmail is no exception and we strongly recommend you apply the following settings to maintain a secure computer in line with the Home Computer Policy.

Login to Gmail, then click on Settings.

On the General Tab:

  • Set ‘Browser connection’ to ‘Always Use https’. This will make reading your email difficult for others, as it will always use a secure connection from your browser.

On the Forwarding and POP/IMAP Tab:

  • Set Forwarding to ‘Disable Forwarding’ unless you want to use the feature
  • Set ‘POP Download’ and ‘IMAP Access’ to disabled unless you want to use the feature

Google allows you to send your emails to another email address and to read it using a software client, like Outlook, using POP/IMAP instead of your web browser. If a feature is not used then it should be disabled.

While covering Gmail security, ensure your password is at least 16 characters long, with a mix of  small and big letter, numbers and symbols like “”£$%^&. If you cannot remember such a difficult pass phrase then do use software like LastPass‘s password manager, which is free and can generate strong passwords while you only need to remember one!

Don’t forget that the ‘forgot your password’ feature on Gmail allows hackers to gain access to your account if you don’t have a sensible question, or better still treat the question section as a second password, choose your own question and set a very strong password. Good security means your password / pass phrase / security question is never a word from a dictionary in any language and always has letters, numbers and symbols.

Web applications are good things, we even use Gmail ourselves, so take advantage of the technology. Just don’t forget to secure it like any other computer application…



2 Responses to "Secure Settings #1 – Gmail"

Excellent site, keep up the good work

This site rocks!

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