Protect your Google account before tomorrow’s deletion of ‘Inactive Accounts’—here’s how.

On December 1, 2023, Google is set to initiate the deletion of ‘inactive accounts,’ encompassing the removal of all associated data such as photos, Gmail, contacts, and Drive storage. Accounts fall into the ‘inactive’ category if unused for a minimum of two years, making recent logins exempt from deletion concerns.

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Renowned for being a widely used email service, Gmail offers features like AI-generated responses and a robust two-step verification system.

In May, Google announced a policy shift from erasing only the content of Gmail accounts to including the deletion of the accounts themselves. This change puts millions of dormant Gmail accounts at risk, necessitating an understanding of the implications and proactive measures to safeguard accounts.

Google’s updated policy specifies that if a Gmail account remains unused for over two years, Google reserves the right to delete the account and its associated content within Google Workspace, covering Drive, Meet, Docs, YouTube, and Photos. This policy applies exclusively to individual accounts and not to those associated with organizations.

In their announcement, Google highlighted that inactive accounts are 10 times less likely to have two-factor authentication (2FA) configured, making them more susceptible to security breaches. Threat actors may target such accounts for unauthorized access and potential misuse in malicious activities.

Ruth Kricheli, VP for Product Management at Google, emphasized, “Forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised, have not had two-factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks by the user.”

To prevent Gmail accounts from becoming inactive, Google advises logging in at least once every two years. Any activity on a Google-related service suffices to maintain account status and prevent deletion.

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