I have been reading queries in various forums regarding this very topic – How to know if my GMail account has been compromised and hacked and what to do to get it back. Thankfully, Gmail has an in-built feature, which helps to determine suspicious login sessions. I am going to provide here 5 steps to determine whether your Gmail has been hacked or you are on the safe side.
1. Find the ‘Last Account Activity’ Section in Your Inbox:
2. Check for the login sessions for your Gmail account:
Clicking on the Details link next to the Last account activity line at the bottom of Gmail inbox page displays information about recent activity in your mail account.
Recent activity includes any time that your mail was accessed, using a regular web browser, through a POP client, from a mobile device, etc.
It gives the detailed information about,
- How it was accessed (Browser/mobile etc)
- Where exactly the IP address is (So you can do some further digging)
- When it was accessed
3. Don’t be afraid, if you see your IP from various countries:
If you use any 3rd party services which hook-up to your Gmail account, they will almost certainly show up in your activity log. To do your own investigation, you can use various freely available DomainTools to identify the IP address. This will help you to identify any suspicious activity if your Gmail account is being hacked.
4. Suspicious Activity Monitoring by Google:
Google also does it’s fair share of monitoring, and will also alert you if it sees suspicious activity both in your inbox, as well as your recent activity log. When this happens, and the IP addresses look suspicious, it is advisable to play it safe, assume your Gmail account has been hacked, and change your passwords immediately.
5. Avoid Mistakes. Log out from all Gmail sessions:
If you are worried you did not sign out of a public computer, you can ‘sign out all other sessions’. This won’t fix any hacked Gmail accounts, but it will resolve any careless mistakes. This is also useful if you happen to lose your mobile phone and you want to ensure your email is not read by others.
What to do if your account has been really hacked?
Immediately change your Password and security question at the first place. Opt for the most secured choices. Follow tips from Google for the same. For example in the case of security questions:
- Choose a question only you know the answer to – make sure the question isn’t associated with your password.
- Pick a question that can’t be answered through research (for example, avoid your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, your first or last name, your social security number, your phone number, your pet’s name, etc.).
- Make sure your answer is memorable, but not easy to guess. Use an answer that is a complete sentence for even more security.