Gmail serves more than 900 million users across the world, which makes it a prime target for hackers. So, it’s important to know what to do when your Gmail is hacked. Your account may have been compromised if you experience any of the following:
- Your contacts have received suspicious messages from your Gmail address
- Contacts and/or mail have gone missing
- You’ve received a warning about suspicious activity from your Gmail’s handy Recent Account Activity page
Don’t panic though. You can, of course, change any of your passwords via Dashlane in seconds. What’s more, Google makes it super simple to recover and protect your account too. Here’s how…
- TRY AND LOG IN
Sounds odd, right? But not all hackers bother to change the password on your account once they’re in and wreaking havoc – it’s probably just too much fun destroying your online life. So, try your Gmail login credentials and if they work, change your password immediately via the settings cog (top right of the dashboard), as well as updating all other account settings. Google offers a comprehensive security checklist to follow for that here. Use it!
- GO TO THE ACCOUNT RECOVERY PAGE
If you can’t log-in, you’ll need to go to the Account Recovery page. This is not only used for hacked accounts, but also for forgotten passwords and usernames (so maybe bookmark it, if you’re still not using a password manager). Select “I’m having other problems logging into my account”, enter your email address and you’ll be delivered to an online troubleshooter. Follow the prompts and the links to change your password or recover your account. Recovery details will then be sent to the account(s) you’ve nominated as recovery accounts.
- IF NONE OF THAT WORKS
Your last option is at the Password Assistance page, and its more comprehensive Account Recovery form. Fill this out in detail, but if you aren’t successful on the first try, don’t despair, as you can try again (some users might also see a link for additional password help). Just make sure to hold on until you receive a reply before you submit another report – it’s a bit of a waiting game. Provide as much information as possible on each attempt, as each submission is evaluated independently. If you’re still out of luck, time to bite the bullet and head to the Create A New Account page. And maybe cry a little.
And that’s it! Once you’re back in – whether that’s through recovery or a new account – make sure you review your Google Security and Recovery options. Check both regularly, and update where necessary. These two pages are your lifeline to maintaining a clean account with the best possible chances of recovery should you be hacked. Spend 10 minutes on it now, save hours of pain later!