Email has continued to be one of the most vital tools we have in our online communications and business interactions. They serve us daily and are most often free to use. There must be thousands of email service providers out there, but of course not all of them are cut of the same cloth, that is to say, quality of service is varied.
Gmail email provider is by far one of the most popular and trusted of all the cloud-based email providers out there today. It is used by millions of people, worldwide, and has an excellent safety rating, uptime and high quality of service in general.
But as always scammers and hackers aren’t far behind the latest technology. They quite ingeniously find new ways to bypass the newest barriers set by tech giants such as Gmail.
So what do you know when you realise that your Gmail has been hacked?
Asides from panic, you need to maintain some sort of composure and take control of the situation before things get out of hand.
Your personal information and even reputation may be at stake, depending on what the hackers have in mind with your account. Knowing that you have sent hundreds, maybe even thousands of emails through your now hacked Gmail account, means that you have enough reason to worry.
Step #1: Claim back your account!
First off, if the hackers have changed your password, you must claim back full access to your account. Change your password to something more difficult to access and if need be, keep a note of your password somewhere safe in your desk or better still, in your wallet.
Step #2: Report to Gmail
The next thing you need to do is report the hacking incident to Gmail. Whoever logged probably already deleted the alert notice that your account has been logged in from a new browser/device. So you might not have further proof to offer in your report. However, email providers take hacking attacks very seriously and will aim to resolve the problem as soon as possible. After all, all that they have is their reputation, and they will want to maintain a high level of trust.
Step #3: Check the collateral damage
After you have reported that your Gmail account was hacked, you should check your sent items very carefully, there will likely be emails sent by the hacker to your contact lists. Quickly delete these emails and check your contact lists for new emails that you didn’t add or that look suspicious. Make note of these email addresses and then delete them from your contacts.
Step #4: Clarify what happens
The last step should be the dreaded mass email to all contacts. Here you should BCC (Blind carbon copy) everyone on your contact list and inform them that your Gmail account was hacked. More often than not, there is at least a couple of contacts who click on the links sent by the hackers, and spread the malware even further. They should be warned that they have possibly been sent malware from the hackers, and that they should check their mobile devices and PCS for any threats.
Once you have performed these steps to control the damage done to your hacked Gmail account, you should have full control of your account once more. Something worth noting is, that many of us keep personal information in our emails, thinking that our accounts are safe. If you happened to send or save any financial information in your email, such as, credit card numbers, bank accounts, social security, passport numbers etc, you should report this immediately to the authorities.
Call your bank and ask them to freeze your card from any purchases until further notice; or better yet, have it cancelled. This might seem stressful and an unnecessary precaution, but the fact is that if your Gmail has been hacked, then you must take every step to protect yourself from financial loss.
Remember that hackers aren’t just doing this to spread malware, but to absorb as much personal information from each account as possible.
Having your Gmail hacked is scary, so treat your email passwords the way you would your social security numbers, don’t share with anyone and always report the hack to the authorities, to safeguard against identity theft.