Secure Your Gmail Account with Google’s Security Checkup Tool

Lately there have been a lot of fast-flying rumors that people are reading your emails. In combination with the privacy scandal at Facebook, people are worried that their third-party apps that use Google may be doing the same thing. The company finally responded to the problem by creating a new and easy-to-use Security Checkup tool.

Suzanne Frey, Director of Security, Trust, and Privacy for Google Cloud, says, “To be absolutely clear: no one at Google reads your Gmail, except in very specific cases where you ask us to and give consent, or where we need to for security purposes, such as investigating a bug or abuse.

So Google is not reading your emails. Third-party apps, on the other hand, may very well be. The developers of these apps have access to any information their app collects.

But, if these apps are collecting that information, it’s because you permitted them to do so.

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Yes. It was you.

Most people don’t think much about security while they are using the Internet. When they download an app, they may just skip reading the permissions screen that shows everything the app needs access to. So do yourself a favor, and read those notifications carefully. It may save you a lot of trouble later.

But what about the apps you have already installed? How can you take back control and change the information it may be collecting?

Using the Google Security Checkup tool is extremely simple to use, and by accessing it, you can see precisely what information each installed app has access to. It gives you some other useful information, too.

1. Log in to your Google account.

2. Navigate to the Security Checkup site.

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3. If you see four green checkmarks, then your account has a very low security risk.

You may still have apps with access to your account, but they appear to be no real risk to your privacy.

4. To get a closer look at the apps that you have given permissions to, click on the third-party access box.

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5. To find more information about the app, click on the information icon next to the app name.

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If the app only has access to basic information, there is little risk to your privacy. These could be permissions to access your language preferences, Google Drive, or your calendar,

If, after checking the permissions, you are not comfortable with the app having access to your information, click on the “Remove Access” button. This could cause the app to stop working correctly. If you still want to use the app, and you decide that the benefits of using it outweigh the risks of unwanted privacy violations, you can always restore its access.

You can also see the permissions that you have granted third-party apps by going to your account page. There is a link to the Security Checkup tool on this page as well.

The best way to avoid any issues is to be diligent about security when downloading apps. Check the permissions the app is requesting, and do not install it if you are uncomfortable with the information it wants to access.

Be diligent when you download those apps. But if you think you missed something, remember that the Security Checkup Tool is available to check your privacy.

4 comments

  1. Surely you jest!
    Using Google’s Security tool to secure GMail is like letting the fox guard the hen house.

    “Google Is Not Reading Your Email”
    So says Google. Trump says he’s friendly towards illegal immigrants, too.
    If Google is NOT reading my emails then why am I receiving targetted ads based on the content of those emails?

    Next to Facebook, Google is the biggest data harvester.

  2. ‘Suzanne Frey, Director of Security, Trust, and Privacy for Google Cloud, says, “To be absolutely clear: no one at Google reads your Gmail”‘

    This is an out-and-out lie…Google’s CEO has publicly stated that Google *does* read user’s e-mails.

    “If the app only has access to basic information, there is little risk to your privacy. These could be permissions to access your language preferences, Google Drive, or your calendar”

    LOL. You must not use drives or a calendar of any kind…just about everybody keeps very private data in/on drives and calendars.

  3. The big question is how often do you change your password? To go on and on with one measly password is not a wise move, sooner or later you’ll get hacked. Personally, I like changing my password every 3 months. The length of a password online anywhere is very important. To have a passwords length that can be counted on your ten fingers is not recommended. Making a password longer and longer even longer, makes the would be hacker sweat for his/her sins. And mix and match, mix and match characters from the keyboard is the way to go.

    • “I like changing my password every 3 months.”
      That’s like forever in computer time! Even a budding script kiddie can hack your password in that time.

      It can be argued that any password used more than once becomes a vulnerability.

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