Gmail is one of the most popular and most widely used free email clients,and is frequently targeted by hackers. Most of the time users won’t even realize that their Gmail account has been hacked.
There are some actions which a hacker can take that will allow him to be able to read your email without logging into your Gmail account. These include using Gmail for mobile, IMAP feature, email forwarding, and so on. While Gmail’s “last account activity” feature can be helpful, there are better methods of looking into the safety of your Gmail account and keeping it protected. In today’s post we will look at some of the easiest ways to find out if your Gmail account has been hacked or compromised. These tips will be useful to all Gmail users including those without any current problems, as it is always a good idea to keep an eye on your email accounts and to know how to monitor unusual activities.
We all know that security is the first thing we need to tend to when working online. I was talking to a friend who is a self- proclaimed “hacker”, and I found our conversation to be most interesting, particularly regarding social engineering and how easily he hacks a Gmail or Facebook account. Fortunately, he also mentioned that it is easy to find out if your Gmail account has been hacked without using any 3rd party tools. (One of the easiest methods used by my friend the hacker involves Gmail fake pages.)
While I am not going to go into detail regarding how or why my friend is hacking email addresses, I will be sharing a couple of quick tips which you can use to monitor whether your Gmail account is being hacked, thus teaching you how to protect your own Gmail accounts from a similar fate. Let’s have a look:
3 features for checking to see if Gmail is being hacked:
Gmail last account activity feature:
Gmail introduced their last account activity feature a long time ago. Last account activity shows the location, IP, method and time when your Gmail was accessed. It shows the last 10 logins, along with the current login.
So — the first thing you should if you are interested in monitoring the activity of your Gmail account, is click on “last account activity” at the bottom of your Gmail account page, and check to see when and where your Gmail account was last accessed. This will give you an idea of whether your Gmail account is being used by someone other than you. You can also log out any other users who may be logging in from another system using the last account activity page.
This is another useful feature offered by the Gmail team which allows us to forward any email coming into our Gmail account to any other account. Hackers usually forward all emails to their own accounts, and since this feature is not widely known or used, people rarely realize that someone else is reading their email. So you can go to this page to check to see if your email is being forwarded to any other email address.
POP and IMAP settings for Gmail:
IMAP and POP features will allow you to access your email on any 3rd party client using any of these two protocols. The issue here is that anyone can configure their email client to receive your email if they get access to your password, meaning that a hacker will also be receiving your important emails.
If you are not using the IMAP or POP feature, it’s better to keep them disabled. Also make sure you follow step one noted above, as you may be able to see some unexpected locations and IP addresses if a hacker has already configured his email client using your Gmail account.
If you ever have concerns that your Gmail account has been hacked, you should change your password immediately, along with your security question, password recovery email, and registered phone number.
It’s not a bad idea to be paranoid about your online security, and you can never be too confident about your preventive measures. It’s better to keep a close eye on your accounts for any unusual activities, and if you give anyone access to your Gmail account (including 3rd party sites like Rapportive), make sure you read reviews and feedback from online communities prior to doing so.
Also check out: 7 security tips for your Gmail account.
Have you spotted anything unusual suggesting that your Gmail account may have been hacked? Let us know using the comments section below.