07 October 2013
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Q. I have received strange emails recently from GPs whose Gmail accounts were hacked. How can I prevent this happening?

A. Gmail accounts are compromised when a hacker gets the email address and password. The problem occurs when:

  • A weak password is in use. Strong passwords are eight characters or more and contain at least one upper case and one lower case letter, at least one number and at least one non-alphanumeric character, such as ? or >
  • The Gmail password is reused for online services/forums
  • The user falls prey to a 'phishing' attack and enters their username and password on a site that has fooled them
  • The laptop or desktop in use is infected with malware such as a 'Trojan horse' that is sending passwords and
    other details to a remote site.

You can beef up your gmail security by:

  • Ensuring you have a strong password that is used for accessing Gmail only
  • Provide Gmail with a recovery email address
  • Add a mobile phone number to your Gmail account
  • Check for unusual activity in your account
  • Ensure your operating system is up-to-date with all patches applied and you have working antivirus software.

If you are the unfortunate person to have their Gmail account hacked, then Google 'compromised gmail account' and follow the instructions to regain control.

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