Have you ever received a message from a friend asking why you were sending them random emails that didn’t sound anything like you?
Or, maybe you have noticed you are getting a lot of spam emails all of the sudden?
Well, this could be as a result of your email being hacked…
Email hacking is a common problem every single email provider out there is facing.
Google claims that their Gmail service is among the safest options, but that doesn’t mean that your Gmail account is 100% hacker-proof.
Hackers might choose your account for a number of reasons – accessing credit card information, obtaining physical addresses, contacts, passwords for apps and websites, and so forth. And, clearly, a stranger obtaining this information could negatively impact your personal, professional, and financial life…
Therefore, it is imperative that you stay on top of finding out if you have become a victim of a hacker.
Here are 10 ways to check if your Gmail account has been hacked:
- Email forwarding
Check your Gmail account’s forwarding page to see if the automatic forwarding option is turned on.Keep the forwarding option turned off and your POP and IMAP options disabled at all means.
Why? Well, because a common practice for email hackers is to forward all of your personal messages to their accounts.
- Suspicious activity
Check the activity on your Gmail account from the Sign-in & Security option.Is there any suspicious activity in the device activity options? You can see in the recently used devices if any suspicious phone, tablet, laptop or computer has accessed your account.
- New security events
From the same Sign-in & Security option you can see if any new security events have been carried out on your Gmail account.If your account has been hacked, there might be new added passwords, altered verification methods, and so forth.
- Altered verification steps
If somebody has hacked into your Gmail account, they will want to alter your verification steps. This means removing the option to double-check an unauthorized device or the option for receiving a Google verification code on your phone.Another altered verification step might affect your alternative account for recovering passwords.
- Suspicious IPs
One of the easiest ways to check if your Gmail account has been hacked is to check the latest activity sessions on your account…Check the last account activity for any unknown IPs and their access method – browser, app, IMAP, and so forth. The activity panel will show you not only the IPs, but also the dates and the locations from where your account has been accessed.
- Wrongfully labeled messages
Check your Sent, Trash and Spam folder for any messages that are wrongfully placed there.Is one of your standard email threads labeled under Spam, Trash, or Sent without your manual interference?
- Changed password
Out of the 10 ways to check if your Gmail account has been hacked, this is the most obvious one. As such, unless you’ve been hacked by a stunningly improvident hacker, your password will remain unchanged.However, if it has been changed and you cannot sign into your account, then you’re definitely the victim of a hacker.
- Missing contacts
Are you missing any contacts? Are new, unknown contacts synced to your Gmail account?If so, it may indicate that somebody has hacked into your account. Keep in mind that sometimes not all contacts will show on every single one of your devices, unless you’ve synced them to each device.
- Bounce messages
Are you receiving bounce messages, which you never sent?Suspicious bounce messages, which supposedly failed to be sent to somebody you don’t know don’t always indicate a hacking attack. If you’re receiving such messages with unknown failed receivers, it simply means that a spammer has used your own Gmail address instead of theirs when attacking other people with spam mail.
- Me-to-me messages
Does your Inbox, Sent, Trash and Spam folder contain messages, which appear to be sent from “me” to “me”? Email spoofing is a common practice which many hackers are using, and if you’re the victim of spoofing, you will be seeing such messages, as they’re basically replacing the original return address on an outgoing email with your own address.
How do you prevent your Gmail account from being hacked?
One of the ways to keep your credit card accounts safe online is to prevent your Gmail account from being hacked. All credit card manufacturers will tell you to never give out your password. In fact, enhanced security from hackers is why credit card manufacturers now recommend contact smart cards instead of traditional debit cards.
Apart from keeping your password to yourself, you should change your passwords regularly and you should always use combinations of letters and symbols with capital and non-capital letters. Nobody is 100% hacker-safe, so keep all additional verification methods enabled at all times.