‘I believe someone has accessed my Gmail account and read my emails. What can I do if I don't know how to find out?' This was a question I was asked the other day, and it wasn't the first time I'd been asked it. It's wonderful to use the largest brand in online services, but it makes you a target. This article will teach you how to see whether someone else is using your Gmail account and what to do if it has been hacked.
Gmail is all over the place. There isn't a single person I know who doesn't have a Gmail account. Google is most known for its email service, but it also has Google Docs, Google Drive, and other helpful programs.
It's handy to have a single sign-in for all of these applications, but it also creates a single point of failure. If someone has access to your Gmail account, they have access to everything.
Let's explore how to check whether your Gmail account is being used by someone else.
Is your Gmail account being hacked?
Signs that your Gmail account has been hijacked are common. Emails you didn't send, accusations from contacts that you sent them spam or virus, account creation confirmation emails from companies you've never heard of, or something else altogether.
While they are suggestive of something going on, they are not conclusive. Fortunately, Google is ahead of us and has given a feature to monitor the activities of your account.
How to Find Out Who Is Currently logged in
Find the Details link in the bottom right corner of your Inbox page by scrolling to the bottom of the page.
A page containing your recent security occurrences, including logins, will now display.
All of your logins will be visible in recent security occurrences. The browser used, the IP address, and the date and time will all be shown on the page. Look through this to see if there's anything strange. Even a seasoned hacker wouldn't be able to spoof this data since it is gathered and kept by Google on every login.
You may also go to the Google Security page and scroll down to Your Devices to see who has signed in and where they have logged in.
Use this link instead of the Details link at the bottom of your Gmail inbox if you don't see it. The Details link seems to be missing for some Gmail users, while it appears to be there for others.
Note: From the Details page, you may sign out of all current sessions. If you want to feel more secure, or if you notice an unauthorized login, don't hesitate to change your password right away.
Examine Your Account for Any Changes
If you're still not sure that your account is safe, keep an eye out for the following signs:
Have you changed any of your security settings? – Contact information, two-factor authentication, and a recovery email, for example.
Has anybody else's account been hacked? – Assuming a hacker got access to your online bank account or another account, it's conceivable that the hacker did so via your Gmail account, if that's the account that's used for logins.
Check your “deleted” folder — In the deleted things folder, you may discover emails that the hacker exploited to gain access to other accounts.
Finally, check through your Account Security page for any Security Alerts. Google has its own method of determining whether or not someone has accessed your account.
Go through your devices and delete any that you don't recognize or that you don't use any more. Check for any security incidents after that. The majority of them are simple logins that you are already familiar with.
What should you do if your Gmail account has been hacked?
If you see anything suspicious during the Security check and suspect that someone else is accessing your Gmail account, you must take action immediately. The longer you wait, the more spam or spyware they may send, and the more pictures or data from your Google Drive they may download.
There are a few easy steps you can do to secure your Gmail account.
1. The first step is, of course, to change your Gmail login password. This will prevent any hackers from regaining access to your Gmail account and continuing their malicious activities.
2. Choose “Signing in to Google” and “Password.”
3. Put your current password in here.
4. Change the password and replace it with a new one.
5. Confirm the modification.
It's a good idea to update the passwords of any linked accounts in addition to your Gmail password. For example, if you use Gmail to access your bank account, you need change your bank account password as well.
Two-factor authentication should be enabled.
Once you've regained control of your Gmail account, you'll want to beef up your security to prevent this from occurring again. Gmail, like many other cloud services, supports two-factor authentication (2FA), which may improve your security significantly.It needs you to create a password and then get a verification code through email or SMS. You may send the email to a different address or use your phone.
Select “2-Step Verification” under Signing into Google.
Choose Get Started and follow the wizard's instructions.
You may choose between sending an SMS or making a phone call, using a hardware security key, or just entering your phone number. I'd go with the SMS option. You never leave home without your phone, which means you can use Gmail from anywhere, at any time, as long as you have it.
If you get any login notifications, make sure you have a recovery email. If someone attempts to access your Gmail account again, a login email should be sent. If any of your banking or financial information has been compromised, you should notify your local authorities.
Scan all of your devices for viruses and malware.
If someone gains access to your Gmail account, you may not be aware of how they did so. They may have hacked your device or used brute force on the Gmail server. It's much too dangerous not to check, so do a thorough antivirus scan on all of your devices next.
After that, as a backup, perform a virus scan. Most antivirus software isn't as comprehensive as Malwarebytes when it comes to malware detection, so run your current virus scanner first, then perform a Malwarebytes scan.
Everyone should be aware.
It's a good moment to let everyone know your email was hacked now that you've recovered control and improved the security of your Gmail account. Tell them that any suspicious-looking email received from your account should be ignored and deleted, and that everything is OK now.
That's how you can see whether someone else is using your Gmail account and what you can do if they are. You should now be able to relax since two-factor authentication should prevent it from occurring again.
If You Are Unable To Log In
You may not be able to log in if a hacker has taken over your account. Google does provide assistance in reclaiming your account. To recover your Google account, go to the Google Account Recovery Page.
You'll be asked to enter the last password you recall after you've put in your Gmail address (be sure it's the correct one for the account you're attempting to recover). To recover access to your Gmail account, follow the procedures, which include confirming required information.
It's critical to include a recovery email and phone number when setting up your Gmail account. It's also a good idea to keep track of the month and year the account was created. When you first set up the account, Google may ask you a security verification question.
Security Vulnerabilities You Might Have Ignored
Understanding what makes your account susceptible is one of the cornerstones to account security. You may have two-factor authentication, a password made out of hieroglyphics, and the finest anti-virus software on the market, but it won't help you if you don't know about additional security threats.
Unauthorized individuals may get access to your Gmail account in the following ways:
1. The hacker has access to a device that gets your 2FA codes, which might be an old phone you sold or a public computer you forgot to log out of. If another user gets access to the codes, 2FA will be useless, so ensure sure your Gmail contact information is up to date. Also, remember to sign out and factory reset any gadgets you aren't using anymore.
2. Using your mobile phone number— If your old phone number isn't changed in Gmail, anybody with it may simply get 2FA codes. It's not simple to clone your phone number these days, but it's also not impossible. If your account is being hacked on a regular basis, change your phone number and see if it helps.
3. Your backup codes are in the hands of someone Else Backup codes are a useful tool in Gmail. You may print or write them down as you generate ten at a time. Request fresh codes from your Gmail account's Security panel. Someone using one of the 10 codes can get into your Gmail account. Your previous codes will be invalid if you request new ones.
If you're wondering how this helps you secure your account, one common element is that you're not updating it. Hackers depend on things like clearing your backup codes and changing your contact information on a regular basis.