No web-based program or application, such as Google's Gmail, is 100 percent safe and secure, no matter how many security and privacy precautions come built in and set as default.
Every Internet user is responsible for ensuring his own security online, and you can maximize your protection by practicing good common sense and using tools and settings on your computer and, as recommended by Google, within Gmail to maintain your privacy.
You can authorize or block certain websites from accessing your Google and Gmail accounts. Sign in to your Google account and click "My Account," and then click "Authorizing Applications & Sites" to see and edit the list of sites that have access to your information.
If you access your Gmail account from public computers, such as those at a library or school, or use public wireless networks, change your Gmail account settings to connect using only Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, or HTTPS, connections.
Aside from creating a unique, secret password that you use to sign in to both your Google and Gmail accounts, you can set your account recovery options to ensure that no one else can get your password emailed to him.
Sign in to your Google account and click "Recovering your password" to set your outside email address, cellphone number and secret question.
These will be used to contact you if you legitimately forget your password or will warn you if someone else is trying to gain access to your accounts.
Additionally, Google offers two-step verification as an optional layer of security.
Two-step verification requires you to log in using your username, password and a code that's sent via text message to your cellphone.
Check for Unauthorized Access
If you suspect your Gmail account has been compromised, you can verify all your recent activity. Log in to your account and check the bottom of the screen for a Details section next to Last Account Activity.
This will show the time, date and Internet Protocol address of the last time your account was accessed.
If you don't recognize these details, change your password and then check your mail settings to ensure nothing has been changed.
Never share your password with anyone, and use a password that's difficult to guess.
Don't be fooled by official-looking emails that ask for your personal information, login name or passwords.
If you use a public computer, don't check "Stay Signed In," and always clear the cache and cookies once you've signed out of your account to prevent someone from being able to find your information. http://mail.google.com/support/bin/static.py?page=checklist.cs&tab=29488