Saturday, 7 January 2012

A Scare

It was evening, I was working on my computer at home, and I clicked on the link to one of my blogs - a strange message appeared - "Your blog has been removed".

How strange, I thought, I had checked it 15 minutes earlier and it was working all right. Curious, I tried to open my other blogs, the same strange message appeared. All my blogs were gone.

Then I noticed my Gmail account had disconnected and there was a message that my password was wrong. I tried to connect to the Gmail account and the message said that I had changed my password. So I could not connect to my Gmail account.

I keep a copy of all my gmail posts so that was not a problem, but I was worried that someone could use my email account to send those fraud messages asking for help such as "that I was stranded in London and needed money".

I panicked, I had heard of hacking of gmail accounts.

How is it possible for someone to find out my password of Gmail? It is a real tough password (even I can't remember it) and I use it only for Gmail. At home, I did not even need to enter it, because no one else uses my computer so I am always connected to that Gmail account.

After another ten minutes, on trying to access Gmail again, I found a message that they had noticed some unusual activity on my account and I was asked to give my cell phone number to receive a security code. When I entered their security code, my account was restored.

A short time later, all my blogs were also restored.

After this, I have changed my password again, but I am worried. How did the hackers get my Gmail password and get in?

I have checked my computer for virus and malaware, but it seems clean. The only unusual thing that had happened yesterday was that while searching for something on Google, I had opened a page that had persistent pop-ups that refused to go away. At that time, my Gmail was also open. Whenever I tried to close those pop-ups new ones opend. It was strange because, normally my browser (Chrome) blocks all pop ups. After 3-4 minutes of struggle, through "Ctrl-Alt-Canc" I had managed to close off my browser and those annoying pages.

It had happened 5-6 hours before the Gmail scare episode. Could that be related to the account hacking?

What else can I do to improve my computer security?

And, if you have received an email from me yesterday saying that I am in trouble and need help, cancel it. It is not from me. I am fine.



  1. Sunil, one thing you can do in Chrome is to install the Web of Trust (WOT) extension. Whenever you see a link, WOT tells you if it's safe or not.

    There is also the Adblock extension. This will block all ads and popups.

  2. I think this was an act of proactive behavior on part of Google. I think Gmail is safer than other accounts. I have seen the stranded-in-London emails from hotmail and yahoo accounts, but not yet from Gmail accounts. Also, Google has started this 2-step verification (, which they want people to use. This may have been an covert invitation to use it.

  3. hehe lol :) fun reading :)
    You don't remember your password sir ?? better mail me i will remind it to you whenever you ask :P :P

    If someone access our account, since the ip address will change, gmail will notify us. then it is better to change the password, i have been alerted twice, especially after blogging threats started increasing.. there are several russian sites providing traffic to my blog..
    I think it is better to signout every time and keep changing our passwords !

    Awareness :)

  4. Good to know that you are not in trouble in London and don't need money :-) (No, I did not receive any such mail from your account)
    I am using Google's 2 step verification. Every time I log on from a new computer (that I have to do during travels), I am asked to put a code which Google provides on my mobile.
    Now I don't know whether mobiles too can be hacked!!

  5. Thanks for all the advice!

    I did look at the "two step verification" by Google but I am worried that it may be difficult to use it when I am travelling in different countries, because my mobile does not always work, especially in remote rural areas.

    @Karthik: Glad you had fun reading it. Now I can also join you in LOL, when it happened, I was not laughing! :)

    @Aativas: Thanks for confirming that you didn't receive any requests for money from my email account. :)

  6. Well I don't know much about hacking etc but it must have been a scary experience to get a message like that and having your blog disappear! I once had a problem with my face book account where I found that I was not able to access it from my phone. Later on I was asked to change my password and was told that someone from Bangladesh had been trying to access my FB ID.

    1. Exactly, that is the scary part. Any way I have read far worse stories than what happened to me so I am counting myself as the lucky ones - by chance, when it happened, I was on computer and noticed it almost immediately .. if I had been away, I would not have even noticed the message from Gmail asking me my cell phone number for security code ..

  7. Ahh this was just fun !! Scary that we can be hacked easily too.
    Nice read ..


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