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Google: Change your passwords twice a year

Google gives advice on security and hides it away safely.

Google logo

Security has been on Google's mind and the company has added an advice section to its website.

The five point checklist and two ancillary advisories contain basic information to help keep its users safe. On the page, the company said: "We take account security very seriously, and we regularly provide our users with tips to help protect their Google account and their computer."

Unfortunately the hyperlink within this sentence is to a blog written last November by Eric Davis, accredited as Google's head of anti-malvertising.

Notwithstanding, the advice given on the new page is sound. Google said passwords for its services should be changed at least twice a year and passwords for each service should all be different. It also recommended mixing numbers, characters and upper and lower case to create a strong defence from hackers using brute force software.

The hints and tips have all been given before by security experts but the number of breaches over the years that are still occurring witness the fact Google is right to hammer the point home.

Of particular use is the advice given for using browsers on shared computers and internet cafe PCs. It holds advice for all the browsers that may have been included on a shared computer: Google, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera.

A general checklist would have been useful to remind people that the browsing history, temporary file cache, and cookies should all be cleared. Unfortunately there was no mention of clearing the "wastebin" and ensuring not to clicking on features such as "Remember me on this computer" though it did not omit to mention signing out of any accounts before quitting the station.

A printout facility would have been useful because remembering all of the processes for all browser versions is a lot to ask of most users who would benefit from the advice.

The problem Google has made for its users is the hidden access to the security advice when the need is probably greatest. A quick view of sign-up pages for Gmail, AdWords and AdSense did not turn up a link. A search through the Help facility seems the only way.

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