Google is offering two gigabytes of extra storage space on Google Drive for free.
There’s a slight catch—if you can call it that. Google account holders have to complete a quick “security checkup” that takes less than two minutes as the company explains on its official blog. (It took this reporter about one minute to complete.)
That’s good news because the Google (goog) promotion expires soon. In fact the offer, a nod to which Safer Internet Day (Feb. 9), ends today.
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The checkup walks account holders through five things. They are:
- Reviewing recovery options in case you forget your password (email and phone backup, plus a security question)
- Verifying which devices you use to access Google
- Controlling account permissions (deciding which apps, websites and websites are allowed to connect to your account)
- Confirming app passwords (making sure you only store passwords for apps you trust)
- Setting up two-factor verification so that you receive a second password to your phone during login for added security
The point is to get users to update any information that seems amiss or out of date. Similar to showering and clipping one’s toenails for personal health reasons, doing so helps maintain good digital security hygiene.
Oftentimes, a person’s email account holds the master key to all their other online accounts. Once hackers gains access, they can reset passwords associated with other accounts linked to that email address—thereby stealing a victim’s identity and locking them out.
The same impetus led Google to develop other security tools, such as Password Alert.
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Google already offers 15 GB of Google Drive storage space to account holders free of charge, and provides the option to upgrade to 100 GB for $1.99 per month, 1 terabyte (aka 1000 GB) for $9.99 per month, all the way up to 30 TB for $299.99 per month. The security checkup boosts a typical user’s total storage space to 17 GB.
“Whether you care about the extra 2GB of free storage, or not, I’d encourage all Google users to complete the Security Checkup,” advised Jeff Friedsam, director of product management at Centrify, a cybersecurity firm that sells identity management software. “While you’re at it, you should consider changing your password (it’s a good idea to change it periodically) and turning on 2-step verification. These things take very little effort and make your accounts more secure.”
Securing your online accounts is a good idea, no matter what.