How To Find If Your Gmail Account Is Hacked? What To Do If It Is Hacked?
By on September 10th, 2008

Recently I got a email from a long time friend and blogger which startled me, the first thing I thought was to spam it, but then I realized instead of doing that, I should just send him a email saying, please stop sending me such emails.

I did send him a email, and he immediately pinged me on IM saying that his Gmail account was hacked. You can take a look at the email that got sent out from his account to all his contacts in the screenshot below. Click to enlarge.

gmail-hacked-email-screenshot

The problem is that my friend’s account got hacked and he had no clue about it, until I replied back to him, asking him to stop sending such emails to me. Though it was unfortunate, there are several ways in which you can keep a check on your Gmail account to see if you are hacked.

How to Find If Your Gmail Account is Hacked?

Monitoring Sent Mail and Trash Folders

Spammers or hackers use hacked accounts to send out emails to your contact list to either talk about the spam sites like in the above email, or tell people that you are in distress and need some money etc crap.

The first traces of such mails can be seen in the Sent Mail folder or Trash, always keep a eye there to see any suspicious emails, that you do not recollect sending out. Also check the Trash folders since spammers, may delete the email from the Sent Email folder.

Monitoring Gmail Activity Monitor

Gmail has made available a new feature some time back which allows you to track, from where your Gmail account is being accessed, this can come in pretty handy since you will be able to easily spot the intruders who have logged into your account and take immediate action of logging them off.

gmail-activity-monitor

As you can see from the screenshot, you can easily view from where your Gmail account is being accessed, and also control them by singing out of all the sessions.

What Steps Do You Take If Your Gmail Account Is Hacked?

The first thing you should so is to change your password to a stronger one, we have a small trick you can use to create stronger passwords that cannot be easily hacked. Using dictionary words for your passwords is a big no no, many people also use their own names, birthdays, phone numbers etc for their password. This makes them highly susceptible to being hacked.

Another good practice is to continuously change your passwords every couple of weeks, though it may sound cumbersome, it definitely is a very good practice considering the problems you will have to face, if your account gets hacked.

Summarizing

It is really unfortunate to know that someone’s email account gets hacked, I for one dread it and always keep a watch on the sent items and activity monitor on a regular basis along with changing the passwords periodically. But not always does a hacked account send out spam emails, there could be some serious threats where hackers are only farming the account to get critical information from your emails.

So the next time you see a spam email from one of your contacts, go ahead and tell him about it and point him to this post, chances are that he has been hacked and needs to read this to get his act together. Do share this with your friends.

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Author: Keith Dsouza Google Profile for Keith Dsouza
I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website. I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.

Keith Dsouza has written and can be contacted at keith@techie-buzz.com.
  • http://www.technobuzz.net/ Raj

    Nice One

    Stumbled

  • http://justgiblets.com Scottie

    Hmm. When you say “hacked” it sounds like you think that all spammers who spoof a person’s email address are using the original mail server. That’s pretty rare, I imagine. Are you saying that your friend found the annoying advertisement email in his sent mail? Typically, a spammer would just use the appropriated address as a “from” field in an outgoing email, but send it via his or her own mail server.

    See http://tinyurl.com/7fah.

    • Keith Dsouza

      @Scottie yes the email came through gmail.com and I can confirm that, I would not have said hacked, it I did not check the email originator :)

  • http://www.techzilo.com Sumesh

    I got the mail too – from you know whom :)

    I advised him to change passwords and all, but also to check filters too. I realize the CSRF vulnerability of filters is fixed, but you never know ;)

  • http://www.blogsdna.com Sandip

    A better way to stay protected is to set auto email forward filter which will forward all your email to another email account, its very less chances that hacker will ever check this filters. So when your Gmail account gets hacked you can still receive your emails as well as password reset mail too :)

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  • http://ubuntulinuxtipstricksb.blogspot.com Mackenzie

    s/hacked/cracked

    Say what you mean. If you’re confused, please read the “hacker” entry in The New Hacker’s Dictionary.

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  • http://@wildblue.net MICHAEL J. SCHMITZ

    I SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT MY GMAIL ACCOUNT IS BEING HACKED BY ANYONE, BECAUSE I FOUND OUT THAT GMAIL STOLE ALL THE FILES OF INFO. I WAS COLLECTING AND JUST KEPT THE HEADINGS. I FOUND THIS OUT WITHIN 30 DAYS OF OPENING UP THE ACCOUNT ON ANOTHER SATELITE SYSTEM. SO WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO STEAL ONLY HEADINGS? I DONT LIKE GMAILS WAY, IF I WERE ON GMALE, I’D PROBLEY NEVER HAVE COLLECTED ALL MY INFO. TO BE APPLIED TO FIGURE OUT ALL THE MAJOR SOLUTIONS ON EARTH, INCLUDING GLOBAL WARMING. SO GOODBYE. GLOBAL COMMAND.

  • Steve

    How does changing my password every two weeks help? It’s something I’ve never understood.

    I have a couple hundred passwords – do you think I should change each of them every two weeks or is Gmail especially vulnerable?

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  • Shari

    i have had my rocketmail and msn hotmail account password changed over and over – someone is getting into these accounts and deleted emails and so on. they have even accepted a friend request from facebook! how can I tell who and when my accounts are being accessed.

  • http://www.google.com Larry

    New to Gmail, the first mail I sent was about my wife having hip surgery and me having a root canal . Then I started getting popups
    on my email page about hip replacements and dental surgery, so someone is reading my email at Google. Should I canell Gmail and go to Hotmail?

  • http://www.socialmediajobscourse.com Lowell Christensen

    My gmail account is having the same problem… spam emails are visible in my outbox. The problem is, no one is logging into my account to send the spam. My account history shows no log in activity other than myself. So it must be some kind of virus on the Google servers? It’s happening daily automatically with no one logging in. Any ideas?

 
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