[TTT] Securing your digital life using Gmail 2 Factor Authentication – Move from Yahoo, Hotmail, or AOL

I get at least 2-3 calls and/or emails a week from people asking what to do when their email accounts get hacked. They are usually tipped off when they see suspicious emails being sent from their account or when one of their contacts gets a suspicious email from the account that was compromised.

In my personal experience Yahoo, Hotmail, and AOL accounts are usually targeted due to the inferior security that is on those providers systems. Yahoo has had multiple security breaches that were not only covered up but then were improperly communicated to it’s users. That being said if you use Yahoo, Hotmail, or AOL you should really think about moving to another service.

My personal favorite for a free email service is Google’s Gmail. You can sign up at Mail.Google.com. Once you sign up make sure you use a secure password (10+ characters, numbers, Aa letters, and a few symbols). Once you do this you can begin the switch over from your provider. I have provided directions for Yahoo, Hotmail, and AOL to forward your email from these providers to your Gmail account. I would also setup a vacation responded (permanently) so that when contacts email your old account they will receive an automated reply letting them know to use your new Gmail address.

Once you have the email migrated to the Gmail account you will need to setup what is called 2 Factor Authentication. This will make it so you either need a SMS (Text) code sent to a mobile number to login OR you can use the Google Authenticator application to generate a code. Sign in to your Google account and follow the directions below to see how to setup the 2 Factor Authentication.

Turn on 2-Step Verification

When you enable 2-Step Verification (also known as two-factor authentication), you add an extra layer of security to your account. You sign in with something you know (your password) and something you have (a code sent to your phone).

Set up 2-Step Verification

  1. Go to the 2-Step Verification page. You might have to sign in to your Google Account.
  2. In the “2-Step Verification” box on the right, select Start setup.
  3. Follow the step-by-step setup process.

Once you’re finished, you’ll be taken to the 2-Step Verification settings page. Review your settings and add backup phone numbers. The next time you sign in, you’ll receive a text message with a verification code. You also have the option of using a Security Key for 2-Step Verification.

Note: To ensure that you can access your account in the future, add an email recovery option as well. Sourcehttps://support.google.com/accounts/answer/185839?hl=en

 


Forwarding Yahoo Email (Source)

Turn on Mail Forwarding

  1. Mouse over the Settings menu icon Gear Icon | select Settings.
  2. Click Accounts.
  3. Click the primary Yahoo account.
  4. Go down and select Forward.
  5. Enter the forwarding address.
  6. Select Store and forward or Store and forward and mark as read.
  7. Click Verify.

    – A verification email will be sent to that email address.

  8. Click Save.

Verify your forwarding address.

You must verify your account before forwarding will work.

  1. Access the email account you’re forwarding to.
  2. Open the verification email we sent.
  3. Follow the email’s instructions to verify your account.

Forwarding Hotmail Email (Source)

If you recently moved from Outlook.com — the new name of Microsoft’s Hotmail service — to Gmail, you can automatically receive mail sent to your old Outlook.com address in Gmail by setting up mail forwarding. Alternatively, enabling POP3 in Outlook.com lets you import both new and existing emails from your old account into Gmail.

Forwarding NEW Emails

  1. Log in to your Outlook.com account, click the **cog** icon and select **Options** from the menu.
  2. Click the **Email forwarding** link under **Managing your account.**
  3. Select **Select forward your email to another email account** and enter your Gmail address in the text field. Save your new settings.

Migrating New and Existing Emails

  1. Open the Outlook.com Options page by clicking the **cog** icon and selecting **Options.** Under **Managing your account,** select **Connect devices and apps with POP.**
  2. Select **Enable** and click **Save.**
  3. Log in to Gmail, open the **cog** menu and click **Settings.**
  4. Open the **Forwarding and POP/IMAP** tab and select **Add a POP3 mail account you own.**
  5. Enter your Outlook.com email address in the text field and click **Next Step.**
  6. Enter your Outlook.com email address and password in the **Username** and **Password** fields and click **Add Account** to save your new POP3 account.Optionally, enable **Leave a copy of retrieved message on the server** before saving your new account if you do not want Gmail to automatically delete emails from your Outlook.com account after importing them.

 Tips and Warnings

  • If you enable mail forwarding in Outlook.com, you still need to log in to your account at least once a year to prevent Microsoft from closing your account.
  • By using POP3, you can import messages from up to five email accounts in Gmail.

Forwarding AOL Email (Source)

Gmail has two methods for forwarding messages from AOL, which you can use either to consolidate your email or to move away from AOL entirely. Importing your mail works best when closing an AOL account, as it imports your entire mailbox and contacts, and forwards new messages for a month. Adding your AOL account to Gmail, on the other hand, sends all new AOL emails to your Gmail inbox.

Importing AOL Email

Importing your mail copies your old AOL mailbox to Gmail so you can close your AOL account without losing any emails. This method forwards new incoming messages only for the following 30 days, however, making it a poor choice if you plan to keep using AOL. To start an import, click the gear icon on Gmail, click “Settings,” “Accounts and Import” and then “Import Mail and Contacts.” Enter your AOL email address and password, select which items to import — Gmail has three separate check boxes to import contacts, existing messages and new mail for 30 days — and click “Start Import.”

Checking AOL Email

To read new AOL emails on Gmail, click “Add a POP3 Mail Account You Own” in Gmail’s “Accounts and Import” settings. Unlike importing mail, this method forwards your messages indefinitely. Enter your AOL email address, click “Next Step” and fill in your AOL username and password — use your email address, including “@aol.com,” for the username. Check “Label Incoming Messages” to tag emails sent to your AOL address and help separate them from Gmail messages. Before pressing “Add Account,” check “Leave a Copy…” if you want your AOL emails to appear both on Gmail and on the AOL website or AOL Desktop.


 

Quick Charging 2.0 – What is it and how does it work?

If you have looked into getting a new smartphone in the past 6 months there is a very good chance that you have seen phones with “Quick Charge 2.0” as a feature. While the name itself pretty much tells you what it does do you know how it works and what is needed to use it?

quick-charge 2.0 logo

Quick Charge 2.0 is a standard that was developed by a company called Qualcomm, they make the majority of the CPU’s and other chips in today’s smartphones. The bottom line is that phones that are equipped with the Quick Charge 2.0 are able to charge up their batteries at a quicker rate than phones without it, however, there is a catch.

In order for Quick Charge 2.0 to actually work there are a few things that you need. Your phone itself must support the Quick Charge 2.0 feature, your charger must be a Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 charger, and a good quality USB cable.

I have the LG G4 and my girlfriend has the Samsung Galaxy S6. Now my LG G4 (Verizon variant) does support Quick Charge 2.0 (QC 2.0) but it does NOT come with a QC 2.0 compatible charger, however, the Samsung S6 charger is a QC 2.0 charger.

LG G4 QC 2.0 Working

Now there is spotty information on whether the LG G4 supports quick charging or not but after running the LG G4 on a QC 2.0 charger with a USB voltmeter in between the charger and phone I can see it negotiate the higher power for quick charging. It will however not tell you that it is quick charging like some other phone models.

I mentioned a “good quality” USB cable. I mention this because we all have MicroUSB cables laying around that work but may be finicky when getting them to work with charging. This is because the wires inside are either worn down and partially broken or they are thin gauge wires. I recommend getting new cables that are the 20AWG wire inside for the power wires, I use the TronSmart ones on Amazon (Link: TronSmart 6 Pack 20AWG). However do NOT use the power cables that are for power only as these are NOT compatible with the QC 2.0 chargers, I will explain why.

So you have a QC 2.0 charger, QC 2.0 phone and a good USB cable right? You are all good to go. But how does this charge the phone faster? Let me explain.

Source: https://blog.oxplot.com/quickcharge/
Source: OxPlot

 

In each USB 2.0 cable, you have 4 wires, 2 data and 2 power. The Quick Charge 2.0 specification uses the 2 data wires to allow your phone to “talk” to the QC 2.0 charger to tell it that it is QC 2.0 enabled and what the maximum input voltage it can handle is. The QC 2.0 standard allows for 5V, 9V, 12V, and 20V on the power wires, however, MOST USB QC 2.0 chargers will stick with a 9V power output and not offer the last 2. This is why you need a standard USB cable and not ones that are “power only” cables. The “power only” cables do not have the data lines connected so the QC 2.0 devices will not be able to talk to one another, but it will still charge with the standard 5V rate.

It is important to note that phones that are QC 2.0 enabled and connected to more traditional “high amp” USB AC adapters will pull the additional power/amps to charge quicker, but to do this reliably you must have good quality/undamaged USB cables. Anker, Aukey, and Orinoco have some solid high-amperage USB chargers that I use at home and in the car that charge up my QC 2.0 devices fast. I have verified this using the little USB volt/amp meter inline with the USB cables and high amp chargers. My LG G4 will pull up to 2.0 amps from a 5V source if it can put that much out.

But wait Tim! You said for QC 2.0 to work you need a QC 2.0 charger. You technically do but only if you want to charge at high voltage (9-20V) instead of the standard USB 5V. If you have a high amp 5V AC adapter this will not use the QC 2.0 standard but because it is higher amps it will use the additional amps to charge the battery quick. There are 2 ways to get more power (aka quicker charged battery) – More amps and/or More volts. This has only been true with the newer Smartphones as most of the older ones limited them to the USB 2.0 specification of 0.5 amps maximum.

So there you have it. If you have any comments or suggestions please drop me a line with the contact form on my site.

OwnCloud vs. DropBox – Conclusion and Thoughts

At the end of January I made a post about giving OwnCloud a spin as a replacement for DropBox. I used this solution for over a month and overall I was quite happy with it, but there was one killer feature that made me go back.

What does it do well? The desktop to cloud sync works very well. It works the same way that DropBox does. It does sometimes take a while for the initial sync but after that it is on par for smaller updates with dropbox. There is the ability to have multiple users and also plugins are available to extend the features of the OwnCloud server. You can even leverage 3rd party cloud storage services (DropBox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, etc). This is a nifty feature but I did not use it.

I wanted to make this post longer but it really doesn’t need to be. The bottom line is that if you use OwnCloud mainly for desktop to desktop sync and maintaining a backup in the cloud this will work very well for you. The thing that made me go back to DropBox is that the camera upload function of their Android app was simply too fickle and unreliable to actually get the photos up to the owncloud server. In addition to being fickle it will NOT upload video files. I heavily rely on this everyday and this was the killer feature that DropBox just did well.

Again if you just need a desktop to desktop with cloud backup then OwnCloud is great. But if you rely on the camera upload feature of DropBox then you will be very disappointed as this just simply does not work well.

ownCloud vs. DropBox – Introduction & Review Plan

OwnCloud vs. Dropbox

Introduction

For years I have been using a free account from Dropbox that I have managed to accumulate about 40+GB of space through referrals and other promotions. I have been very happy with the service and the reliability of the service itself. I have used it to share content with other people (pictures, videos, programs, documents, etc). But with trying to get myself off as many free services where I am at the mercy of the other providers I decided to see if I could run my own Dropbox like service for myself and even friends.

Enter ownCloud. ownCloud is an Open Source project that has been in development for a number of years. I have tried it out in the past when it was younger and ended up not using it due to misc little issues that were present. I submitted bug reports (like the Android app not seeing the new camera shots with HTC phones) and they did implement the fixes for the issues that I reported. Currently their most recent version (6.0.0a) appears to be very quick and stable.

The Plan

Currently I have installed and setup ownCloud on my DreamHost account utilizing a MySQL database (this is faster and more robust than the SqLite DB). I installed this with their easy setup-owncloud.php installer. I am NOT using HTTPS but I am using end to end encryption to send and retrieve the data. I have uninstalled Dropbox from my phone and all my computers. I have synced the data that was on my Dropbox folder up to my ownCloud install and I am using it like Dropbox. I have 3 Windows machines (2 running 8.1 x64 and 1 running 7 SP1 x64) and 1 Android Phone (HTC Droid DNA) with the ownCloud clients on them.

Once I have been using it for about a month (Feb 7th, 2014) I will post a followup review to let everyone know what my thoughts on it are as a viable Dropbox replacement. Now I will be very careful to not let my web host service issues (if any) reflect poorly on the ownCloud service. If for some reason I cannot complete the review due to technical issues I will push back the followup and then resume from there.

So that’s all! I am going to use my ownCloud install just as I did Dropbox (camera upload, sharing files with public links, syncing between many computers, etc) and then post a follow up 30 days later (started using on 1/7/14) to let you know how it all went. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!