GOOGLE users need to double-check their passwords in the face of phishing schemes, data grabs and other attempts to steal personal information via Gmail, Google Drive and Google Chrome activity.
Because Google accounts act as a centralized hub for many users, they can be a valuable mine of data for hackers, especially when it comes to Gmail accounts that are tied to other websites.
Hackers can exploit a Google account through various avenues to obtain personal information, so users need to be wary of the many openings for
“It’s risky to use the same password on multiple sites,” Google advises on its security page.
“If your password for one site is hacked, it could be used to get into your accounts for multiple sites,” the tech company explains.
The following means of stealing information pose an especially severe threat and make it crucial for Google users to renew their passwords on a regular basis.
The very same factors that make public WiFi so easily accessible also open it up to the most risk on phones and other devices.
Because there are so many avenues for hackers to take advantage of WiFi, it’s important for consumers to be vigilant of multiple security shortcomings to keep their personal information safe.
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One scheme operates by making replicas of popular websites, and presenting that page when someone tries to log on to the legitimate site on public WiFi.
Unencrypted networks also open the door to a practice called “packet sniffing,” which allows hackers to acquire information that they analyze later.
This makes it possible for hackers to steal your password over a basic WiFi connection.
Phishing emails look legitimate, so the untrained eye doesn’t hesitate to click a link, open a document or respond with information.
But researchers at Google discovered more than two million phishing websites last year – an increase of 25 percent compared to 2019.
Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent email designed to trick the victim into revealing sensitive information.
Emails are typically dressed up to appear to be from a company or person that the victim trusts, but actually infect devices with malware.
Users should not click emails that they’re unsure about and they should check the URL of a site to make sure it matches with a legitimate webpage.
Americans have been warned that emails shouldn’t ask for personal information.
Two-Factor Verifcation Hacks
Two-factor identification is a cornerstone of Google’s security, but scammers have developed a means of using the feature for unsavory purposes.
To take advantage of vulnerable accounts, a fraudulent automated call will ask you to “secure your account” with a code or one-time password sent to your email or mobile device.
After entering the code that appears, the scam call will say the account is “secured” or that a “hack attempt has been blocked.”
The call will state something about an “income refund” and provide a phony reference number.
Scammers are said to be using automated bot calls like this to trick you into giving up your genuine multi-factor authentication codes for all sorts of online accounts.
Hackers buy “data dumps” and share them on forums, compromising the user credentials stolen from websites like Netflix, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google.
Scammers often use leaked credentials to fleece people for cash using phishing emails and other forms of cyber attack.
Often, these massive data leaks aren’t discovered until months after the fact, so updating your password often keeps your risk of victimization lowered.
This means of hacking is a classic means of stealing data, and part of the reason you should update your passwords on a regular basis.
Keyloggers simply record your keystrokes, and transmit the data to the scammer, even if they’re miles away.
Though keyloggers are often installed directly on the device by the hacker, sometimes they can be embedded into charging cables and other device accessories.
There are two main means of password hacking, as reported by Make Use Of, and though their methods are different, they both pose a terrible threat to Google users.
The old-school method is plain password guessing: a hacker uses knowledge of your family or interests to figure out your password.
If your password is your pet’s name, for example, anyone who sees you share the furry friend’s photos on Facebook or Instagram may use that data point in a hacking attempt.
Automated password crackers use a computer program to guess millions of variations rapidly.
When you update your Google password, use numbers and symbols to strengthen it, and don’t tie the code to easily-discernible words like your name, city or favorite sports team.
Secondary Account Hacks
Google users often forget that they have “secondary accounts” linked to their Gmails, which provides a great way for hackers to sneak in.
If you use a Hotmail, Yahoo or other account as your recovery email, hackers may use it as a “backdoor” into your Gmail.
Keep passwords on those email addresses updated, too, even if you don’t use the account often.
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