Many use their Google account for just about everything. You can log into social media with Google credentials. It runs Android devices and is a hub for much of our digital lives.
Hackers can target every type of online account. As one of the biggest email account providers, Google accounts are some of the most sought-after. It’s important to know what signs to look for in case your account gets hacked so you can kick the hacker out and get things back on track.
Read on for some warning signs you need to look out for to know if your Google account has been hacked.
1. Security alert emails or push notifications from Google
Google sends you security alerts in the form of emails when a login attempt or new login has been made on your account. You can also receive a push notification asking if your recent login attempt was you or not.
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It may be a message that says “New device signed in to” and then list your email address. Email notifications will include a blue button that says “Check activity” to see the IP address and device used.
Sometimes we forget how many devices we have, or a child or relative could be trying to use one at home, but it’s always better to play it safe than sorry.
In any event, take the security alert seriously and change your password. You will have to sign back into your Google account on your devices afterward, but it’s better than letting a hacker run rampant with your account.
2. Connected applications in your Google account you didn’t authorize
Go to your Google account and click on the security tab on the left. One section is labeled “Third-party apps with account access.” Click or tap on it.
Over the years, we have allowed certain apps to access our Google account. It could be a job posting board, an online store with a Google login, or any number of things. Look through all third-party apps with access to your account and remove any you don’t recognize.
You may not remember signing up for a particular app. Still, it’s also possible a hacker connected your account to a third-party app to have constant access without setting off security alerts.
Remove third-party apps you don’t recognize, then change your Google password.
3. Sent emails you don’t remember
Every once in a while, you should check your sent folder in your Gmail account. Hackers sometimes gain access to accounts to use your account credentials to send emails that won’t get picked up by spam filters.
They do this to scam people on your contact list who will likely trust your account name without thinking twice. Do you have anything in your sent folder you don’t remember sending or doesn’t sound like you wrote it when you read it?
You guessed it: change your Google password to be safe.
4. Connected accounts have been hacked, but your Google account seems fine
Whether you log into another account with Google (like a banking app, for example) or use a password manager to remember logins for you, hackers can get access to this information.
If you’ve had recent problems with third-party services and sites connected to your Google account, the entire issue may have started from your Google account.
This is tedious, but it’s worthwhile to change your Google password and then change each password for accounts you’ve connected to your Google account in the past. This is the only way to ensure your other accounts will be safe.
5. Your emails are automatically forwarded to another address
Gmail has a great feature, so you can automatically forward emails to other addresses. This is helpful for keeping backups of important emails in your recovery account, but it can also be used against you.
To remain under the radar, hackers may add unfamiliar email addresses, so they receive your emails constantly. Here’s how you check for and turn off automatic forwarding:
- In your Gmail account, click on the cog icon on the top right of the screen.
- Select See All Settings for more options.
- Choose the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab for more options.
- At the top of the page, find where it says Forwarding and lists multiple options. Check the button that says Disable Forwarding.
- Leave and refresh your browser. Repeat the above steps to make sure your changes went through successfully.
What information should you change if your account security is breached?
According to Google, you should look for unfamiliar critical security setting changes. If any of these were changed without your permission or knowledge, your account is likely at-risk.
- Recovery phone number.
- The recovery email address associated with your current account.
- Alternate contact methods.
- Your Google account name.
- Security questions.
- Two-step verification has been turned off.
- Added location sharing settings.
Hackers could have access to passwords that grant them entry to your financial and Google Play accounts. Change your passwords and reset all of your account security details if you believe you’ve been hacked.
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