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How safe is your Gmail account? Are you sure it is really secure? As a computer repair tech I am starting to see a large increase in my clients Gmail accounts getting hacked. I decided it was time to make people aware of the situation and let them know what you can do if you has happened to you or someone you know.
So first of all - why would someone want to hack your email account anyway? Cyber criminals hack your account in the hope of finding sensitive or personal information. Hackers use this information to gain access to things like your bank accounts, credit cards and or to steal your identity. For example- one of the largest and latest attempts is to send you an email with an attachment/link. The email appears to be officially from Google letting you know that there was an unauthorized attempt to access your account. The email also states that you need to reset your password and security. Once you click on the attachment it then takes you to what appears to be your normal sign in page - but it is not. Instead it is a cleverly crafted piece of HTML that is a Gmail phishing page. Once you sign in as you normally would the hackers now have your user name and password and full access to your account
So what can you do?
Very first thing to do is check to see if you can still log into your account. If you can, change your password immediately. Next, check that your secondary email/secret question/mobile phone number has not been changed. Do this by going to your Gmail Settings>Accounts and Imports>Google Account Settings. Then look under personal settings, there you should change your password and password recovery options. Change everything!
If you are unable to log in go to: https://www.google.com/accounts/recovery Reset your password through the secondary email address, mobile phone number or your secret question. If the hacker has already changed your secondary address and/or your secret question you will have to deal directly with Google.
That is about the extent of your options. If you don't have a secondary email account, now would be a good time to set one up. If you used your Gmail password for ANY other online account you should change those passwords and set them up with your new email address. Email family, friends and all contacts associated with your Gmail account warning them that your account was hacked. Inform them they should ignore suspicious communications until further notice. It would be prudent to post a similar message on any social networking sites you belong to.
With our busy lives we usually don't think about security until it is too late. Whether you’re using a computer, tablet or smart phone be very careful of what personal information you put in your emails or texts. Remember if someone gets a hold of your info - you put it out there and in the end you have no else to blame but yourself. Always make sure you have an up to date anti-virus & firewall on any Android or Windows based device. Only download apps and software from commonly known and respectable sites. Never click on any links, open any emails or download anything if you are not sure it is safe to do so or if you do not know where or from who they are sent.
Remember the hacker’s motto (Your ignorance is their bliss)
The PC Clinic of Durango
Greg Ossege - Computer Tech/General Manager
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