Google Mail, to use it’s original name, has been the obvious choice for many users especially if you can register and use your own name. As it’s free and comes with a decent amount of message space Gmail useage has become widespread across the Internet and an easy target for hackers and other ‘bad actors’.
In an attempt to prevent fraudulent use Google, like most service providers on the web, tries to push users towards ever increasingly complex password systems. All very well having a password with 16 characters including capitals, numbers and weird special symbols but most people start to write passwords down once they become a little complicated thus defeating the original aim. (Please don’t write your password on a sticker and then attach it to the computer – this is even worse!)
So you really need to find a balance between security and ease of use. Trying 2 or 3 words together which make sense to you, but more importantly are easy to remember, is a good step forwards. Throw in a memorable number and you have the makings of a decent password which should be easy to recall.
There are suppliers who will insist you create a password is overly complex but Google aren’t one of them and gmail is quite flexible with your choice. This comes with the risk that you may choose something which is too simple and to counter this Google have become more restrictive on which email programmes, apps, are allowed to access your mailbox. Traditionally we all use things like Outlook, Mail or ThunderBird on our computers to access email. The interfaces are quite straightforward but more importantly they remember all of the required settings to access your email account including the password.
Now here’s the problem – Google don’t want your computer, with a programme they didn’t create, to access their systems with a relatively simple password. It’s a major undertaking to ask EVERYONE to start using horribly complicated passwords so Google have come up with a method which hides the complexity by using 2 passwords. The nice simple one you already use when you login from something Google likes and a much longer version for the email software on your computer.
Although that sounds as if it has the making of a small disaster movie Google have tried to keep things straightforward. Basically they will generate a long password which just needs to be replicated once on your computer. After that your programme or app remembers the new, stronger password and begins to use that in the background.
At DISC we’ve configured several users with the new arrangement and everyone is now happily back to working as before. So if you’ve been experiencing problems accessing your Gmail account over the last few weeks you may need to step through this new process so that Google continues to communicate with you.