If you’ve been around IEEE for a long time, you remember when your email address firstname.lastname@example.org was just an alias that forwarded all email to your actual email provider. However, in 2013 the IEEE partnered with Google to create an actual Gmail account for your IEEE email address. While the intent behind this benefit is certainly appreciated, it was actually an inconvenience for many of us who were already established with an email provider. We didn’t want to migrate our entire digital live to IEEE’s new Gmail account. I wrote a popular blog post back in 2013 about how to configure your IEEE Gmail account to forward 100% of all email to your actual email provider.
However, there was another major problem with the new system, which unfortunately was not addressed until recently: multi-factor authentication could not be enabled on your IEEE account or the IEEE Gmail account. Multi-factor authentication (MFA), also referred to as two-factor authentication (2FA), is one of the most critical steps you can take to secure key Internet-facing accounts. Think about the implications of having your email breached…if they can take over your email, they can reset the password to every account you own, from your bank to retirement to social media. They can take all of your money, delete your family photos, and destroy your reputation. Your password alone will not protect you. It’s not that hard to brute-force a password, or find a re-used password that was revealed in another cyber attack. MFA is the one simple step that can protect you from all of this trouble. It’s almost criminal negligence that it took so long for IEEE to make MFA available. It’s unbelievable that IEEE, the world’s largest engineering organization, still doesn’t support MFA on your IEEE account login.
How to Enable MFA on IEEE Gmail Account
- Log into your IEEE Gmail account. This login will require your IEEE account credentials. If you’re using Google Chrome, allow Chrome to create a new profile to separate this account login from any other Google logins that are active on the same computer. If you are using another browser, either sign out of all other Google accounts first, or use a Private Browsing window to isolate the IEEE Google session.
- In the same window in which you’ve logged into IEEE Gmail, go to your account security page at https://myaccount.google.com/security
- In the section called “Signing in to Google,” look for 2-Step Verification, and switch it to “On.” You’ll have to choose between Google Prompts, which sends a push notification to the Gmail app on your mobile device, or receiving an SMS (text) message to confirm that you’re logging in. The push notification is more secure, but either option is better than nothing.
- Once you’ve set up the primary method, you’ll be prompted to set up other methods, such as a hardware token or an app like Google Authenticator. Both are good backup methods to employ.