Data Doctors: Has my Google account been hacked?

Q: I think I’ve been hacked — is there a way to see if someone is using my Google account?

A: It’s an unsettling feeling when you suspect that you’ve been compromised and Google accounts are highly targeted by the internet underworld because they know that virtually everyone has one.

One of the most common methods of compromising a Google account is through phishing scams that appear to be security alerts from Google.

If you’ve responded to one recently, especially if they convinced you to sign into your account, you should be concerned.

It’s also possible that you signed into your account on a spouse’s or a friend’s device and forgot to sign out, which would provide the owner of the device access to your account.

First step — device activity

You can access a list of devices that have signed into your account in the last 28 days by going to this page: (make sure you’re signed into the account in question first).

Each device will be displayed along with the number of sessions either currently running or that have been active in the past.

If you see any device that you don’t recognize, you have good reason to be concerned and should change your password. The good news is that you haven’t been locked out just yet if you can access this screen.

Click on any of the sessions to see the estimated location and time of the most recent activity along with the browser, app, or services that have access to your account on that device with an option to “Sign out.”

Security checkup

Something every Google user should do on a regular basis is run a security checkup by going here:

The color of the shield at the top of the page will tell you if you have recommended actions that you should take. Green means that everything looks good, while yellow or red means that you have items you should review.

Each entry will have icons so you can quickly go to the area of concern from the security checkup. The first entry (third-party access) should be checked regardless of the icon color, as apps or programs that you don’t use may still have access to your account.

Password checkup

Your passwords are the keys to your kingdom and knowing when they have been compromised is important.

Run the Password Checkup from the security page to see if any of your saved passwords have been compromised. If you can’t remember what the password was for a specific app or service, click on the three dots to the right and select “View Password.”

Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask any tech question on Facebook or Twitter.

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