Digital Inspiration is an oft-linked blog here at Lifehacker, and its author is a very savvy digital worker. That said, Amit Agarwal learned a lot about safety precautions when both his Gmail and Google Apps accounts were hacked into.
Agarwal's not entirely sure how his accounts were broken into, given that he had strong passwords on them. After a few moments' panic and some back-and-forth with the Google team, he regained control over his accounts. If he had to go through it again, he'd wish he had a whole bunch of backup and verification procedures on hand. Here's one item that jumped out at us, despite having gone through a similar experience, as something neither we nor most Google/Gmail users probably have ready:
#3. Take a paper and write down the following information about your Google Account. You will need this to verify your identify to Google in case someone else takes over your Google Account and the secondary email address associated with your account.
- The month and year when your created your Gmail / Google Account.
- If you created a Gmail account by invitation, write the email address of the person who first sent you that invite for Gmail.
- The email addresses of your most frequently emailed contacts (the top 5).
- The names of any custom labels that you may have created in your Gmail account.
- The day/month/year when you started using various other Google services (like AdSense, Orkut, Blogger, etc.) that are associated with the Google account that you are trying to recover. If you're not certain about some of the dates, provide your closest estimate.
Be sure to read the full Digital Inspiration post for more tips and advice on preparing for, and recovering from, hacked Google accounts, and share your own hack/spam recovery experiences in the comments.
Gmail and Google Apps Account Got Hacked [Digital Inspiration]