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How To Tell If Your Gmail Account Has Been Hacked

Image representing Gmail as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

If you spend any time at all on tech sites, then chances are you have seen quite a lot written about cybersecurity.  There have been several articles here, in fact, that have addressed various issues related to the broader topic of how to maintain one’s security on the Internet.

Today, I thought it might be useful to address an issue I hope you have not yet had to face – how to tell if someone is using your email account without your knowledge, at least if you are a Gmail user.  For those of you unfamiliar with the lingo, when someone hijacks another’s email account for their own ulterior motives, the email account is said to be “hacked.”

But, first things first – let’s address a threshold question about email providers.

Are Some Email Providers Better Than Others?

In the 10 years or so that I have been actively using email as part of both my professional and personal life, I have had a MSN Hotmail account, Yahoo accounts, and Gmail accounts.  I have no formal affiliation with Google or any of its companies, but I can tell you that Gmail beats the other two hands down.

On the issue of security, in particular, I have found that neither Hotmail nor Yahoo do as good a job of filtering unwanted spam messages as Gmail.  Because they do not, both Hotmail and Yahoo – right out of the gate – are somewhat less secure, in my opinion.

For an even more strongly worded condemnation of Yahoo, in particular, check out this article here which recommends dumping your Yahoo email accounts altogether.  I am not going as far as recommending a wholesale dumping of Yahoo, but I would not use it for your professional work.

In addition, in these many years of emailing, I have had both a Hotmail and a Yahoo account “hacked” by an unauthorized user who then used both accounts to send out spam messages to all of my contacts.

This has never occurred with Gmail – at least so far as I know…

So, How Would You Know If Your Gmail Account Was Hacked?

There is an excellent article in Gizmo’s that explains clearly, step-by-step how to determine if there is hacker in your midst.  The steps outlined are ones that you should perform from time to time, as it does not good to simply perform the steps once and then assume you are in the clear for all time.  Unfortunately, that is not how cybersecurity works, and it can be a royal pain the backside, I agree.

Nevertheless, you should include checking your email account for unauthorized use periodically as part of a larger cybersecurity checklist performed for your virtual or traditional office.

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One comment on “How To Tell If Your Gmail Account Has Been Hacked

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