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Yesterday when I tried to access my Gmail account. I was not able to access it. It was showing me that password is wrong even though I haven't changed the password. (Later on I recovered password through alternate email id) I'm dying to know that how is it possible? Is it possible that anyone had hacked my gmail credential?

Any idea? post them here. I'll highly appreciate.

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migrated from superuser.com Dec 1 '10 at 10:54

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

    
spam?! or hijacking passwords is theme for stackoverflow? –  zarko.susnjar Dec 1 '10 at 9:50
1  
there a several ways to "hijack" ones account (a man in the middle attack is a typical one) but here is not the place to discuss about this subject. As an "expert" in software development, Mark, you should know these methods, read about them, and be careful next time. –  Yanick Rochon Dec 1 '10 at 9:55
    
@Mark Have you discounted the use of a public computer or virus/malware installed on the machine from which you accessed your gmail account? –  w3d Dec 1 '10 at 15:07

4 Answers 4

It's quite simple actually for a hacker to hack 98% of the population.

If your password is related to a credential of yours, something you would put on a hospital application or such, it is extremely easy for them to guess it. They don't even have to try every permutation of letters like they might have to. Hence p3anu+01l5uck5 is not a good password.

They can also try to hack another account, and since 94% of the computer-literate use the same password everywhere, it's insanely easy for someone to get your password if they can hack a low-level forum site you use that password.

And those are just the easy ways. There are still more advanced techniques (phishing being the biggest one, but there's also brute-force/dictionary attacks, viruses/spyware, simply someone watching over your shoulder, or even as complex as blackmailing Google with even more account information) they can use.

But it's also possible that you forgot your password. It's hard to tell the difference nowadays.

And if this ever happens again (hopefully not), or anyone else, Google has a form for this purpose.

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The most common vector is a weak 'security question'. Have you looked into that? This doesn't give the attacker immediate access to your account but it makes it much easier.

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You may want to check the recent activity on your Gmail account. Go the to bottom of the inbox page and look for a link like this:

This account is open in 1 other location at this IP (x.x.x.x). Last account activity: 0 minutes ago. Details

and click on the Details link. It will open a new window that will show you the activity on your Gmail account - where the last several locations your inbox was accessed from and the IP address.

At the bottom of that window, you can set an "Alert Preference" that will show you an alert for "usual activity" on your account.

Read more about these alerts at Gmail Help: Last Account Activity

Also look into turning on Google's 2-step authentication, which can prevent anyone from accessing your account without your mobile phone/device as well.

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Once you also view your Gmails activity report, and get the IP of whom the account is also available to, you can trace the IP back to who hacked your account.

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