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This week brought the aboslutely mind blowing story of how Wired's Mat Honan got hacked in practically every possible way. It's a good read, and a frightening look at just how fragile our digital ecosystem's security can me. If you haven't read it yet, click the link and read it all, we'll wait. Read it? Eye opening, eh? It really makes you wonder about the security of your own data. Some of us are good about password management, going to great measures to ensure our data remains secure. Others aren't so much, I'll admit I've used the same password and email combination multiple times (even if that wasn't the fault here). If you're a Gmail user like Honan, there's one relatively simple way to be doubly secure in your web use: Gmail 2-step verification.

2-step verification adds a layer of security that requires a code be entered when logging into Gmail from a computer other than your own. That code is randomly generated by Google and sent to your phone by a text message, voice call, or even a dedicated GAuth app. Take that code, enter where Google prompts, and you're granted secure access. Why enable 2-step authentication? Because it requires somebody trying to access your account also have your device with them to receive that code. And just to be even more secure on that count, you can lock your webOS smartphone with a PIN. Bring it, Gmail hacker theives!

Interested in how to set up Gmail 2-step verification on your webOS smartphone? You should be, especially if you value the contents of your inbox (and potentially every other part of your digital life). Keep reading for instructions.

How to use Gmail 2-step verification on your webOS device

Setting up 2-step verification on your Gmail account

  • First things first - you obviously need to have a Gmail account to use this feature.
  • Sign in to your Gmail account from a PC and go to the 2-step verification page.
  • Choose your country in the drop down menu, then enter your phone number.
  • Choose SMS or voice call
  • Enter your phone number and select Send verification code.

You'll receive either a voice call or text message (depending on what you chose) with your code. Enter in the box and select Verify.

Next you can choose to remember the computer you're using. If you check the box then you won't be asked for the code for 30 days when using that computer.

Click Turn on 2-step verification to finish the process. That's it! Now when you login to your Gmail account from another device, you'll get a text or call with a code to verify your account. Pretty cool right?

Changing your Gmail password on your webOS devices

Now that you're set up, you'll have to update the password on your webOS device. Google provides a special one-time password for this purpose.

  • Login to Gmail on your computer and you will see a new screen explaining 2-step verification. On the bottom of the page, click the Manage Application Specific Passwords link.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and you'll see a password generator. This generator lets you create passwords for applications that don't use 2-step verification like your webOS device.
  • Enter a name for the device in the box (Derek's TouchPad) and select Generate Password.

You'll get a popup with a 16 character password. Got to the Accounts app on your device, select your Google account, and enter this new password in place of your old one. If you have multiple devices you'll need to generate a unique password for each one.

Once you do that, you are up and running. You won't have to do anything further from your webOS device and you email should come in as normal. You'll have to do this for any other apps that need your Gmail login.

For more help and discussion on this or other topics, head to the webOS Nation Forums for more.