If you use Gmail, you’ll see a lot of blue buttons on the compose window. These are “signals” that Google has sent to your device. When you press one of those buttons, Google thinks you’re trying to sign in to Gmail on the computer or mobile device, and it presents you with a list of options for what to sign in with. You can choose from your email address, phone number, or even a Google account (if you’ve set one up).
When you choose one of those other options, like your email address or phone number, you’re actually signing in to that provider’s app or website. For example, if you want to sign in to WordPress.com with your Gmail account, you’ll be presented with a list of options including Gmail, Google, or WordPress.com. If you choose Gmail, you’ll be brought back to the compose window. But what if you want to keep using the app or website that you’re already signed in to? You have to stop Google from detecting that you’re trying to switch accounts, which means you have to change your password.
Here’s how to do that.
Create A Strong Password
The first step is to create a strong password for your account. You can download a free password manager app like Dashlane and use their strong random number generator (RNG) to create a complex password. Just make sure you use a different password for each account that you have. Dashlane also allows you to choose a hint for your password, so you can remind yourself of what it is when you need it. This is very helpful because, let’s face facts — remembering dozens of passwords is difficult (to say the least).
Use The Same Password For Different Apps And Web Sites
You know how passwords work. When you use the same password for two different accounts, whether it’s two separate Gmail accounts or a Gmail account and a Blogger account or a Stripe account or anything else, it makes your accounts vulnerable to a password attack. When you use a password manager like Dashlane, you’re creating a unique, strong password for each account you add (even if they are all Gmail accounts). This makes your accounts much more secure because someone would have to guess your password for every account you have (it’s a lot to guess). It also means if someone does guess your password, it will only work for one account. The hacker will not be able to use the same password to access any other account you have.
Passwords aren’t the only thing you need to worry about when it comes to your account security. For example, if you use the same phone number for all your accounts and it’s linked to your Gmail account, any hacker who gets their hands on your phone number will also be able to access your Gmail account. It’s best to use different phone numbers for different accounts. At least then, if your phone number does get compromised, it won’t provide access to all of your accounts. That’s not a good thing. As much as we all hate to admit it, phones are a major security risk, even when they are completely locked away in our homes (and even then, it’s still a risk).
Check For Updates
The second step is to check for updates. Most apps and websites, especially those that are popular, will periodically push out updates to fix security flaws or add new features. While you’re checking for updates, make sure you keep your apps and browsers up-to-date as well. Sometimes these updates will have you change your password, as in the case of BrowserQuest, which will tell you to create a new password once you’ve downloaded the update. Keep in mind that if you don’t update your apps and websites frequently, you’re leaving yourself open to potential attacks. The last thing you want is a hacker using your computer to send spam or stealing your data because your app or website was not updated recently.
Let’s say you use Gmail to check your email and you use a website called Hotmail to access your email. If Hotmail is compromised and an attacker logs into your Gmail account using your Hotmail login, the hacker will also have full access to your Gmail account. This is something you need to check frequently. If you don’t keep your software up-to-date and patched, you’re opening yourself up to potential threats. You need to ensure that your software is always up-to-date and that you’re not vulnerable to attacks from any source, whether it’s a human or a software program.
Change Email Addresses
The final step is to change your email addresses. As we mentioned above, if you use the same password for two different accounts, whether it’s Gmail or any other account, it’s a security risk. And when there’s a security risk, you have to take it seriously. That’s why you should never, ever use the same email address for two different accounts. If you use Gmail, you can go through your email settings and remove old email addresses that you no longer need (or have forgotten about). If you have several email addresses, you can choose which one to use for which service (Gmail, Instagram, etc.). Changing your email address is very easy. All you have to do is click on the “settings” icon (typically located in the upper right corner of your inbox) and change the email address that’s there. You can also create a new email address if you don’t have one yet. Just remember to do this for all your accounts that you have, otherwise, you’re leaving yourself open to potential attacks. Changing your email address isn’t something you have to do often, but it’s something you need to do periodically to keep your accounts secure.