What to do if you think your Google account might have been hacked

Four pieces of advice from Googler Matt Cutts

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It happens, more often that you might think. If a hacker gets into your Google account, he (probably a he) could be listening in on your activity, rather than making it obvious you've been hacked. Here are four things you should do if you suspect your account might have been broken into, according to Google search spam exec Matt Cutts.

He writes on his blog:

Here’s what I’d do:
- change your password (make sure you’re on google.com when you change your password)
- check for any strange activity. In Gmail, go to the bottom right and look for a message that looks like “Last account activity: 30 minutes ago. Open in 1 other location” and click on the “Details” link and look for any unusual logins, for example log ins from countries that you haven’t been in recently.
- Also check for weird forwarding rules. If hackers get into your Gmail, sometimes they’ll create a rule that forwards all your email to them. To check your filtering rules, in Gmail click on the gear icon in the top right, then select Settings from the drop down. Click on the link for “Filters” and just check whether there’s any rules that look suspicious to you.

The fourth thing he advises, but also acknowledges is a hassle, is to Turn on two-factor authentication.

All good advice for any of your online accounts!

Read more of Melanie Pinola’s Tech IT Out blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melaniepinola. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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