Google's newest study revealed just how fast you need to act if a hacker steals your password. The study, which examined 5,000 hijacked Google accounts, revealed that hackers don't just cast their net and sit on their haunches.
20% of the compromised Gmail accounts were accessed by hackers within 20 minutes after being compromised.
The researchers also reported that hackers spent an average of three minutes "appraising" an account. They performed searches for bank records, wire transfers and lewd photographs.
If they found none of those things, the hackers would move on to the next account. If they hit something worthwhile, the average time spent went up. That's likely because hackers were figuring out where to sell the information that they harvested from the compromised account.
If your account is compromised, the one thing that you must do is change your password. I've already explained how to do just that in this tip. The other thing, though, might be to run some searches for some of the popular keywords that the hackers in this study used when vetting an account.
Here's what the hackers who compromised Google and University of San Diego:
Search for those keywords on your email account. Be sure to delete any emails with that information on it so that if the worst happens and hackers do take over your account, they won't find anything of value.