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Has my Gmail account been hacked?

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Have you noticed lately that you are getting a lot more junk mail than usual in your Gmail?  Do you find several emails from “Mail Delivery Subsystem” sitting in your inbox?

hack gmail account mail delivery subsystem.JPG

Odds are, your Gmail account has been hacked.  It is not uncommon for people to try to hack Gmail accounts, so don’t be alarmed if it happens to you.  In this quick tip, I am going to show you how you can quickly check if your Gmail account has been hacked, how to recover it, and a couple of simple things you can do to prevent it from happening.

Also, for complete computer protection against the over 1 million computer viruses and other computer threats out there, please don’t forget to download your FREE copy of my report called:Is Your Computer Safe? The FREE 4-Step Complete Computer Protection Plan. You don’t want your other accounts to get hacked into. If you aren’t careful, people might sneak into your accounts on other favourite sites. Make sure you log out properly, of your email, social networking or betting (http://www.partybets.com/) accounts– especially if you are on a shared computer. Double-checking is important, especially at the office or in an internet cafe.

How to check if your Gmail account has been hacked

Last month (July 2008), Google added a great tool to help you find out if your Gmail account has been hacked.  At the bottom of your Gmail page, you will notice a status indicator showing you your last account activity.

hack gmail account activity.JPG

If someone is currently logged into your Gmail account from a different machine at the same time, you will notice a message indicating that “This account is open in 1 other location at this IP”.  To see the history of how many times you (or someone else) logged into your Gmail account, you can click on the Details link.  A new window will pop up that shows you the activity on your Gmail account.

hack gmail account activity details.JPG

The top half of this page shows you if someone else is currently logged into you Gmail account at the same time as you.  To kick everybody off of your account, click on the Sign Out All Other Sessions button.

The bottom half of the page shows you the IP addresses of who has recently logged into your Gmail account.

What is an IP address?  Well, each computer connected to the Internet is assigned a unique number, which is known as an IP address.  No two computers on the Internet may have the same IP address at any given time.

To make a little sense of this table, let’s look at an example.  If you always check your Gmail from your favourite home computer, and you notice the Recent Activity list is showing any IP address that doesn’t belong to your computer (Note: Your computer’s IP address is located on the bottom of this page), there is a good chance that your Gmail has been hacked.

If you would like to find out more information about the IP address that you suspect has access to your Gmail account, simply go to http://whois.domaintools.com/ and enter the IP address of the machine that accessed your Gmail account.

How to recover from a Gmail hack

If you suspect someone has hacked into your Gmail account, the first thing you should do is immediately change your Gmail password.  If your Gmail account has been hacked and the person who took over your Gmail address has changed your password so you can not log in, here are a few things to try:

1. Contact Google to reset your password: https://www.google.com/accounts/ForgotPasswd.  When prompted, you will need to enter your original Gmail account email address and Google will reset and send you the temporary password to your secondary email address (Note:  When you signed up for your Gmail account, you provided a second email address where a lost password could be sent.).  Unfortunately, this may not work if the hacker changes your secondary Gmail address as well.

2. Contact Google and let them know that your account has been hacked: https://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/request.py?contact_type=ara&ctx=accounts

Quick tips to protect yourself

1. Double check to see that you have an active secondary email address associated with your account.  This can be done here: https://www.google.com/accounts/EditSecureUserInfo.  This will come in handy in the event that the hacker gains access to your Gmail account and actually changes your password so you can’t access your own Gmail account anymore.

2. To help prevent others from hacking into your Gmail account, I strongly suggest enabling the secure browser connection option.  This is especially important if you access your Gmail account using a non-secure Internet connection, like a public wireless or non-encrypted network.  Non-secure networks make it easier for others to gain access to your Gmail account, including any sensitive data that may be found in your emails, such as bank information, online log-in credentials, etc. To force Gmail to always use a secure connection follow these 3 simple steps:

a. Sign in to your Gmail account.

b. Click on the Settings on the top right of the page.

hack gmail account settings.JPG

c. At the bottom of the Settings page, you will notice a new option called Browser Connection.  Change browser connection to Always use HTTPS (“S” stands for secure) and Save Changes.

hack gmail account browser connection.JPG

Note1: If you check your Gmail using Gmail Notifier, you will need to download a patch for this setting to work. Click here to learn more.

Note2: If you check your Gmail on a mobile phone, you may need to change some settings on your phone. Click here to learn more

As we learned in my previous easy step by step Internet tutorials, your Gmail account is a very a powerful tool.  Not only does it contain your private emails, it is also linked to your Google Calendar.  So it is important to spend a few minutes protecting your Gmail account from hackers.

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Written by Hani Mourra on August 30th, 2008 with 33 comments.
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33 comments

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Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Stephen Martile
#1. September 1st, 2008, at 12:09 PM.

Hani – that was a fantastic article!

thanks for the tips,

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Souvik
#2. December 10th, 2008, at 11:36 AM.

Some one hack my account from last week…so how can i out from the prob…….Any one help me out of them….. PLZZ

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Hani Mourra
#3. January 6th, 2009, at 9:55 PM.

Hi Souvik. Do you have a secondary email address assigned to your Gmail account?

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com vanisha
#4. April 15th, 2009, at 5:56 AM.

Some one has hacked my gmail acc

please help me

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com kumar
#5. May 27th, 2009, at 5:16 PM.

my gmail account has also been hacked. please help me to recover it.
Donot set anything wrong in your mind by seeing my Email ID that is written above. I am a student.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Hani Mourra
#6. May 27th, 2009, at 5:28 PM.

Hi Kumar,

Did you try this link to reset your password?
https://www.google.com/accounts/ForgotPasswd

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Emily Dickinson
#7. July 9th, 2009, at 9:26 AM.

Hi,

My gmail account has been hijacked and I am not able to retrieve the same as he has changed the secondary email and security questions. I just want to know whether I can delete the account completely or not, as someone who hijacked the site is misusing it. His mail id is [email protected]

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Hani Mourra
#8. July 9th, 2009, at 10:23 PM.

Hi Emily,

Unfortunately if you don’t have your password it is not possible to delete your Gmail/Google account.

The best thing to do is create a new Gmail account and to email all your friends and family and tell them to ignore any emails from your hijacked account.

Make sure you follow the steps mentioned in this article to make sure you keep your account safe.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com amit
#9. December 10th, 2009, at 9:15 AM.

that was a fantastic article!
thanks for the tips,
thank u so much

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com NYAD
#10. December 10th, 2009, at 9:42 AM.

THANKS SO MUCH! I was beginning to freak out when I started receiving the MAIL DELIVERY SUBSYSTEM emails. You’re a lifesaver!

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Hani Mourra
#11. December 10th, 2009, at 12:56 PM.

You’re most welcome. This happened to me personally and I panicked at first. Once I realized what’s happening I managed to deal with it before the hacker did any damage.

Hani

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Jules
#12. February 18th, 2010, at 8:42 PM.

my account was hacked. I don’t have access to it, passwords were changed and I don’t know my secondary email address (probably because it was changed). I do not want to create a new account. I have all my work stuff saved onto my gmail and my contacts… I would lose everything! Can I call google directly? I keep on filling out the form and get an automated response from them saying my account did not verify their security questions to verify me.

grrrrr. your help is greatly appreciated!

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com hichem
#13. February 27th, 2010, at 10:35 AM.

my gmail was hacked and someone fwd all my incoming emails and also had my loggin details for TWO years.
This week they started to harass my girlfriend and using emails from my gmail to send her malitious emails (naturally sent from another account then what was used to recieve my emails).
Who do i contact at Google to help me out?
I have tried the security dept but no responce after 4 days and also tried other help desks but no replies.
I have reported this to IC3.GOV and also police in UK (where i live).
I have the email address it was fwd to (a gmail account) but this account is now closed naturally. Secondly i have changed my passwords and closely monitor if new IP addresses apprea (nothing so far).
This person has had access to all my emails, tax things, bank details etc etc. My accounts were attempted logged into but they failed so i have had to 3 times change all my passwords and security questions.

Can anyone help? PLEASE

distressed gmail account holder

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com hichem
#14. February 27th, 2010, at 10:37 AM.

JULES…..is your ex-girlfriends name Alex?
You seem to have similar issue that i have and also strange that my ex-girlfriend whom i think is behind this had an ex before me names Jules (used to live in SW6 in London).
If so pls let me know and i think we should talk

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com hichem
#15. February 27th, 2010, at 7:19 PM.

My gmail was hacked in 2008 but not discovered till last week. I have since then had my girlfriend and other contacts in my contact list harassed…from a sender with HUSH.COM email.
Does anyone know why google doesnt come back and reply to questions to their security department? Like Jules i keep filling out formes and sending emails but nothing happens.
I have not chaned password and taken off the auto-fwd that was on ALL my emails.
Anyone have an ideas? Help would be great…desperate. This person sits on 2 years of private info

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Donna
#16. March 24th, 2010, at 11:02 PM.

Hi Hani,

Thanks for this article..I really appreciate all the info & security checks advice. I didn’t have my gmail hacked into..it’s my mouse that is playing up, and somehow I came across your article. Now to sort out my mouse issues..:-)

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Logan
#17. April 25th, 2010, at 1:48 PM.

My gmail account got hacked and taken over, password and security question has been changed as well as the secondary email address 🙁

any help to recover my account will be appreciated

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com vidhya
#18. June 18th, 2010, at 2:16 AM.

hai friends my gmail account was hacked. i cant access my account . my oorkut also hacked. what can i do/ no response from google. i dont know how to retreive my password. please help me . my gmail is [email protected]

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com brian
#19. July 5th, 2010, at 4:31 AM.

i can log into my account, but it freezes when i try to open my e-mail or access anything else from there.. i tried changing my password but it didn’t work. my other gmail account works fine, so i know it’s not the browser.

my question though is if i delete my account, can i make a new account with the same address assuming i’m alright with losing all my archived e-mails?

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Hani
#20. July 8th, 2010, at 12:23 AM.

Hey Brian,

Unfortunately, creating the same account with the same name will not keep all the archived.

Can you try logging into calendar.google.com using your username/pass. Does that work?

How about trying an email program (like Outlook for example) to download your emails to your computer. If you don’t have Outlook, try using the free Thunderbird Email program (from the makers of Firefox):

http://www.mozillamessaging.com/en-US/thunderbird/

Let me know it that helps out.

Hani

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com giantslor
#21. September 3rd, 2010, at 3:52 PM.

I figured out that I was getting the message because of the Firefox extension Gmail Notifier. As long as you have that logged in, Gmail will give you the notice that the account is open in 1 other location. When you click for details you will see that the access type is Browser and the IP address/location is the same as yours.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Hani Mourra
#22. September 4th, 2010, at 11:50 AM.

Awesome tip Giantslot! Thanks for sharing!

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com cutie
#23. October 9th, 2010, at 6:58 PM.

hello it’s about 1 year i’m searching for hack and i couldnt find good result yet.i forgot to say my english is weak.by the way it may became funny but i need to find my passwords and my freinds password …in yahoo and facebook some of passwords stolen by some one else and they change security questions and they use my id now and some of my passwords forget.i need my assword for some reason for some of my freind i dont have any information about them and i want to find them in my list please help me.this is my id [email protected]

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com sherin
#24. November 16th, 2010, at 1:24 PM.

my email id has been hacked,it contains important mail regarding my work,could any 1 help me to get bak my id,i couldnt remember my secondary mail id too…..plz find me a solution to recover my id

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Myong Kim
#25. May 26th, 2011, at 10:46 PM.

Hi,

Thank you for the great article.
I saw my IP address, and i see that my account has been hacked. I guess someone is using my gmail to send advertisement message. I have tried to changed my password for 3~4 times now, but it doesn’t work. What Can I do?

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com oil painting videos
#26. August 11th, 2011, at 8:58 PM.

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Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Rohit Mittal
#27. October 17th, 2011, at 6:39 AM.

my account was hacked. I don’t have access to it, passwords were changed and I don’t know my secondary email address (probably because it was changed). I do not want to create a new account. I have all my work stuff saved onto my gmail and my contacts… I would lose everything! Can I call google directly? I keep on filling out the form and get an automated response from them saying my account did not verify their security questions to verify me.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Toare
#28. October 18th, 2011, at 11:55 AM.

Hi * how can I open my Gmail account that it`s been failed to open for couple of times. The reason, a lady came to my house and useing my computer almost half and hour on the yahoo.
Thanks

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Johan
#29. November 21st, 2011, at 5:18 AM.

Hey,

one other way of protecting you from gmail hack is to register your own domain, e.g. example.com. You can configure it to forward the emails to e.g. [email protected] to a gmail account, [email protected]. If someone hacks it, you can reconfigure the forwarding to forward to another new gmail account. Your friends know your email address [email protected]. It’s not bullit proof, ie you don’t want the hacker to read your old mail, but at least you haven’t lost your email address.

Another positive thing about owning your own domain is that when you have to enter an email-address on a site, you can say [email protected]. When later you receive spam but sent to [email protected], then you know who sold your email-address to the spammer. For example if I enter [email protected] and I receive a dodgy email sent to this address, then I know I can not trust eztechtips.com

cheers,

Johan

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#30. November 21st, 2011, at 6:46 AM.

nice info really cool info i like it 🙂

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Hani Mourra
#31. November 21st, 2011, at 3:16 PM.

@Johan. Thanks for the awesome information and tip!

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Mark Ackleys
#32. January 8th, 2013, at 1:11 AM.

Sometimes Hackers track our system activity by tracking our IP address and they can hack our gmail account. I think if you want to increase your online security then you can use a VPN software to hide your IP address. According to me Hotspot Shield free VPN is best.

http://www.hotspotshieldvpn.com

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Hani Mourra
#33. January 8th, 2013, at 1:31 AM.

Great Tip! THANK YOU

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