Since the emergence of the electronic mail known as email, there has been a significant increase in the embrace of this medium of communication.
Research says that by the beginning of 2019, there were 3.8 billion email accounts around the world. What does that tell you? That email is a popular and reliable medium for sending and receiving official messages The email, in so many ways, differs from other communication platforms. It has more officialness to it, and only serious and other business messages are communicated through it. Little wonder why you always provide your email for business-related purposes.
Gmail is the most popular email service provider. Launched in 2004 as a trial, before officially launching in 2009, Gmail has been serving its purpose and more. Gmail has very tight security, one that makes it difficult for hackers to penetrate.
However, it will be your own undoing to underestimate the skill and expertise of these internet villains, as they could be in possession of your account with ease, and in no time. We will have a look at the numerous ways that hackers can have a hold of your account.
Why Hack a Gmail Account?
Oftentimes, the aim of hacking a Gmail account is not always genuine as the hacker could be up to something snoopy. Most hackers’ aim of hacking a Gmail account is clearly for sinister purposes. However, there are also some genuine reasons why you may want to hack a Gmail account, which is what we shall be zeroing in on in this part of the article.
Even though Gmail rates age 13 and above for its users, the conversations that are held on there might not be censored for that age. This makes some parents worry about what their kids could be exposed to on the otherwise enjoyable official messaging and file-sharing platform.
To this end, parents seek to monitor their children’s Gmail account to be sure that they are not threatened with security and otherwise, and one sure way to achieve that is by hacking their Gmail account, monitoring what kind of conversation they are having, and with whom they are having it with.
Spy on Someone’s Dealings
One of the reasons hackers will want to take control of your Gmail account is to snop on your business dealings, uncover your communication and what you are up to. Usually, emails are the official communication channels for business and as such, there is no better way of knowing the dealings of a business or a person than checking hold of his Gmail account if he uses Gmail.
Spy on a Spouse
A restless partner who is worried sick that their spouse could be defying their commitment by having affairs elsewhere could hack their Gmail account to be sure. Although this could be slippery and the hacker will have to tread carefully by not letting their partner find out, otherwise they jeopardize their blissful relationship if they discover that the suspected partner is not cheating after all.
Spy on Employees
Some employees could be having off-work affairs, which could be breaking their organization’s rules or policies. Also, they could be having unhealthy conversations on Gmail that could put the organization at risk. Therefore, employers who want to ensure that all work protocols and policies are maintained amongst employees within and outside the work environment may opt for a Gmail hack.
Popular Methods of Hacking Gmail Accounts
Hacking a Gmail account is somewhat easy, because most Gmail account owners, one time or the other, must have installed an untrusted app from an untrusted source. This makes it very easy for hackers to penetrate.
Another thing that makes Gmail account users vulnerable is clicking on every link they see without being sure the link is safe or ignoring safety warning messages from their browsers. The followings are the various method by which a Gmail account can be hacked.
1. Using Phone Number
This method involves a bit of trickery on the side of the hacker. It is part of the ‘social engineering methods. It involves the deception of the user by the hacker, convincing the user that something might be wrong with their account.
The hacker goes on to tell the user that they need to send back a code they received from Google in order to strengthen their account security. Losing a Gmail account is one thing a user fears so much, so if this is about strengthening their account security, why not?
Let's look at a more practical instance:
Greg is a hacker. Daisy is a Gmail account user. Now, Greg intends to hack Daisy’s Gmail account but he has only her phone number and maybe addresses. He goes to the Gmail login page and clicks on Forgot Password button. He is asked to input the phone number he used in registering (Daisy’s phone number now).
Gmail sends a verification code to that phone number and now his work begins. He calls Daisy pretending to be working with Gmail. Asks that Daisy sends the verification code she just received back to him to enable him to complete her account security tightening process.
Daisy, unsuspecting of his malicious intentions, sends out the code to him. With this verification code, he has the power to change Daisy’s password to a temporary one and may later change it permanently when he gains full access to her email account. When he does this, he locks Daisy out, and unless she reviews her account settings and tightens things up from her end, Greg may continually have access to her account.
2. Using the Mspy App
Mspy is a very useful hacking app that allows you to hack some accounts such as WhatsApp, Gmail, etc. This app runs incognito in the background and that makes it a perfect hacking tool. It takes little time to set up, and with fewer hassles.
This app is also hackers’ favorite tool due to its suitability for both new and experienced hackers. The information is updated every five minutes. That makes it possible to snoop on conversations of your victims five minutes ago.
Mspy comes with a built-in keylogger that lets you views all email messages exchanged. It also lets you view the timestamp and block any sender of your choice as though you own the account.
However, to effectively be able to use this method to hack a Gmail account, you need to have access to the target’s mobile device, and the following procedures have to be done on the device of your target.
How to Use Mspy
Step 1: Visit www.mspy.com
Step 2: Login in to your Mspy account with your details. Create a new account if you do not have an account already.
Step 3: The next page will need you to specify what operating system your victim is using; Android or iOS. Select one and continue.
Step 4: Install the Mspy tracker on the device of your victim by visiting this website
Step 5: Once installed, complete the setup by logging in with your account credentials and activate the app.
Step 6: Start monitoring your target’s activity from your dashboard by clicking the email option on the list of options on the left side of your dashboard.
3. The Phishing Method
This method involves tricking victims into providing useful information about their emails on a fake landing page with a data collection feature. Hackers use this particular method so much, so we can say it is one very popular method.
Have you ever received a link with a message claiming to be from a platform that you have an account with, stating that the security of your account might be threatened and that you need to create a new password to protect your account? Well, that’s phishing. You have to be smart and quick to recognize the website as fake, otherwise, you would inadvertently be providing the black hood-wearing man behind his computers with your sensitive email details. The page usually appears as a password-changing page for Gmail, asking you to enter your old and new passwords.
This method has an intermediate level of technological expertise, however, it could still be achieved by virtue of some phishing kit for hackers who are not technologically up there.
The followings are the steps to completing your Gmail account hack:
Step 1: You might have to get a phishing pack (it will be necessary to complete this process)
Step 2: Register for a free web hosting service (since you might not be needing the fake website anymore after a successful hack)
Step 3: You will have to create a page that is convincing enough to your victim (in this case, a Gmail password-changing page)
Step 4: Have in mind that the purpose of this new fake website is to have your victim submit their old and new passwords. Since the fake site is not in any way effective in actually changing their Gmail password to a new one, you should ignore the new password and work with the old password. The old password is their current password and that is the one you will use to gain access to their Gmail account
Step 5: When you are done creating the phishing website. Set up the phishing pack
Step 6: Create an official-looking web address to minimize suspicion. Be sure that it is devoid of spelling or other errors, and embed your fake website link into the web address so that it becomes a link. The website should appear like an official Gmail password recovery web address so that it convinces your targets. When they click the link, it will land them on your phishing website where they expose their password to you.
Step 7: Send the email to your targets and see how many of them jump on it to reveal their passwords to you. Although, a good number of your targets may suspect that you are up to no good, but a good number of them too, will fall for it.
4. Browser’s Password Manager Method
The Password Manager is a feature on your mobile or desktop browser that lets you see the list of saved passwords of various accounts you possess. To be able to use this feature, you will invariably need to have access to your target’s mobile phone, or computer (as the case may be).
Now let’s proceed. For the sake of this article, we will be focusing on the mobile phone, and the Chrome browser. You can research how to use this method to get passwords, on your specific browser.
Step 1: On your Chrome browser, tap the 3 dots on the top right corner of your screen
Step 2: Towards the bottom of the options, you will find Settings. Tap on it
Step 3: Locate Passwords on the list of options provided
Step 4: You will find a long list of accounts your target had signed in and saved their passwords on Chrome
Step 5: Search for their Gmail account on that list and tap on it
Step 6: Locate the eye icon on the password segment and tap on it.
Step 7: This will reveal their Gmail password (if they have it saved on their Chrome browser, which they would most likely do.) Although you might be asked to verify your fingerprint, or perform any other form of verification, to gain access, depending on the target’s device’s security structure.
How to Know That Your Account Has Been Hacked
One unfortunate thing that can happen to any Gmail user is to find out that their account has been hacked, and they cannot gain access to them anymore. There are several telltale signs that indicate that someone has tampered with your Gmail account. Below, we will be talking about a few of them.
‘Password is Incorrect’
First, your Gmail is always logged in isn’t it? But when you try to open your Gmail and it asked that you log in again, then there’s a problem. It does not end there; when you attempt to log in, it tells you that your password is incorrect. You probably have never even changed this password before. From all indications, your attacker has changed your current password to something else he alone knows, thereby, logging you out.
Notification from Gmail
Ever gotten a notification from Gmail asking you if you tried to log in from an unrecognized browser or location? Well, if yes, it might be a clear indication that someone somewhere has tampered with your account. When you get a notification like this, you might be able to recover your account if only you act swiftly by changing your password.
Another clear indication that your Gmail account may have been hacked is when you are seeing messages that you did not send. This will be the action of a careless hacker though as the smart ones will surely delete messages so no trace will be left.
What to do When your Gmail Account is Hacked
When you suspect that your Gmail account has been hacked, you should swing into action immediately by doing the following.
Informing Your Contacts
Most times, when a hacker hacks your account, what they really want to get is your information (as much of that as they can get about you), basically, to help them maximize their hacking benefits. If they cannot get it, they begin to ask your friends or contacts for it. Your unsuspecting contacts will think it is you and begin to dole out your information without the slightest idea that they are giving that information to someone else. You can help save a situation like this by informing them about the hack and warning them against giving out any information about you.
Calling Your Bank
Contact your bank or any other institution that may be in possession of your assets and business documents, or even money to notify them about the hack. This will help keep your properties safe with them. When your bank is aware that you are not in control of your Gmail account, they will not give out any information about you.
Create a New Password
When you get a notification from Gmail about a change in your account that you didn’t authorize, act fast by changing your password. If you do not do this in time, your attacker would have caused a lot of havoc. When creating a new password, be sure that it is a combination of characters, numerals, and symbols. This is considered a strong password and cannot be easily guessed or compromised.
Create a New Email
The last resort might be to create a new email. When you have tried all else but it appears that your attacker is very determined to cause harm, then it is best you just create a new email.
How to Prevent Your Gmail Account from Being Hacked
Of course, there are some safety measures to carry out in order to keep your account safe from hackers. Below, we shall be talking about some of them:
Remove Apps that Have Your Gmail Information
The first thing to do to prevent your account from being hacked is to remove all third-party applications from the list of applications that you had authorized their permissions to save your details. You should do this to apps and platforms that you no longer use anymore. This is because whether you use them or not, they still have your information.
So imagine if you have more than 50 apps all over the internet that have your Gmail information, that would be putting your Gmail account up for the black hood-wearing and masked face men to have a field day with.
To remove these apps, follow these simple steps below:
Step 1: Go to your Gmail app
Step 2: Tap your picture on the top right of your screen (if you have one, otherwise you will see a colored circle in replacement)
Step 3: Tap on Manage Your Google Account
Step 4: Tap on the Security tab (you might have to swipe left to see it)
Step 5: Locate Manage Devices and tap Manage Third-Party Access
Step 6: You will see a bunch of websites and apps that have your information. Tap on the irrelevant ones and tap on the Remove Access that pops underneath
Activate 2-Step Verification:
This is also known as Two-Factor Authentication. It is an extra security layer that ensures that no one gets access to your Gmail if they do not have access to your device. You are assured of a high level of your Gmail account security to an extent if you activate this feature.
To activate this extra security layer, follow the instructions below:
Step 1: Go to myaccount.google.com
Step 2: Tap on your Profile on the top right of your screen
Step 3: Tap Manage Your Google Account
Step 4: Tap the Security tab
Step 5: Locate and tap on 2-Step Verification
Step 6: Tap on Get Started and follow the prompts that ensue afterward
Set Up a Recovery Email:
A recovery email is an email that serves as a backup plan to get your account restored in the face of a hack. This is the email account that Gmail sends your recovery details into when you cannot gain access to your own account anymore due to a hack or other unforeseen factors.
How to Recover a Hacked Account
First off, if you had activated the 2-Step Verification explained above, there may not be a reason to recover your account, because there cannot be a hack in the first place. However, in case you lost your account to a hacker, you should follow these instructions:
Use the Forgot Password Option
On the login page of Gmail, you will find the Forgot Password option. This lets you get a verification code into your phone number registered with Gmail, either by SMS or phone call.
Recovery Mail Option
Recovery email could be found among the various options on the login page by tapping Try Another Way until your preferred option comes up (in this case, the recovery email option).
As explained earlier, a recovery email is a backup email that receives the password reset details of the account you are trying to recover. So, all you have to do is log into the recovery email and click on the details sent to the inbox by Gmail and it will only be a matter of time before you recover your account.
Answer Security Questions
A security question is a question that involves very personal information about you. These questions and answers are established during your Gmail registration. They help you recover your account in the event of a hack or loss, especially when you do not have your phone number and access to your account anymore. The security question is the last resort for recovering your account, if you do not remember them, your account might be as good as gone. They often come in these forms:
What street did you live on when you were 8 years old?
What’s the name of your pet?
What is your maiden name?
The questions you see are questions you have chosen prior to being your security questions; Gmail does not throw random questions at you.
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Your Gmail is an important internet address that houses some of your very important business messages, losing it will be a big blow. Ensure that it is safe by adhering to the precautionary measures highlighted in this article.
This article only seeks to demonstrate how a Gmail account can be hacked, and does not in any way supports it. Therefore, if you indulge in it, you are liable for any consequences there might be, legally, or otherwise.