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Sunday, March 22, 2015

How to Check if Your Facebook or Gmail Account is Hacked

We often read about someone’s Gmail account or Facebook account getting hacked and think this cannot happen to us as we access these accounts only on our personal laptop or smartphone. This assumption is wrong and you will be surprised to know that your information on such accounts is pretty vulnerable to attacks from hackers. It is easy to be over-confident if you weren’t one of the many whose Ebay account got hacked or whose Yahoo mail account was infected in recent years. If your information has been safe so far without any precautionary measures taken, then, it doesn’t mean that it will remain so forever.

In fact, we need to learn from the recent Ebay hacking fiasco and take preventive steps to avoid our most used online services like Facebook and Gmail from getting prone to any type of hacking activities. Maintaining privacy and security of Facebook as well as Gmail accounts needs to be a mandatory activity undertaken by every common online person like you and me. But, the big question that comes to mind is how do we know if our Facebook account has been hacked or our Gmail account has been hacked? What are the associated indicators? Let’s discuss them along with some tricks to identify if someone is really spying on your online activities.
Identify and Prevent Hacker From Accessing Facebook account
1. Inside your Facebook account, you can view a history of all your account logged-in sessions by following the path as mentioned below:
Settings -> Account Settings -> Security -> Where You're Logged In
Here, you will be able to spot any active sessions that were not started by you. If you come across any such unwanted sessions, you can simply click on the “End Activity” link to remotely log out.
Facebook security settings to Prevent Facebook Hacking
2. You should keep the Facebook Login Notifications option activated to get notified via an email as well as a SMS whenever you (or someone else) log into your Facebook account from a device which has not been used before for this purpose. The ‘Login Notifications’ option can be enabled on your Facebook Security Settings by following the below mentioned path:
Settings -> Account Settings -> Security -> Login Notifications
Facebook Login Notifications to Prevent Unauthorized Access of Facebook Account
3. Always delete your browser history and cookies before logging into your Facebook account. Repeat this activity after you log out as well. Avoid saving your Facebook password using any password software or password manager.
How to Check and Prevent Hacking of Gmail Account
1. Within your Gmail account, you can get the ‘Last Account Activity’ information by carrying out following steps:
i. Login to your Gmail account.
ii. Moving to the bottom right of your screen and clicking on Details link corresponding to “Last Account Activity”.
Gmail Last Account Activity to Check and Prevent Gmail Account Hacking
This is a very useful feature available in Google mail account as it reveals details regarding when, how and from where (location) access to your account was made in the last few times. In fact, it displays the complete log-in history of your last 10 Gmail log-in sessions. Using this information, you can determine if some third person has accessed your account without your consent. You come to know about the exact date, time and IP address location of the account access.
Additionally, you even get details about the type of device used to get access to your Gmail account. Such level of detailing helps you to keep track if your account is being misused by someone else. Using the button ‘Sign out all other sessions’, you can simply log-out from all sessions except the current one. This will help you to log out from sessions which were left open by mistake the last time you accessed your Gmail account. Alternatively, if some suspicious person is logged in to your account from elsewhere, even he will be thrown out of the session. Thus, using this extremely useful feature, you can always keep the Gmail hackers at bay.
2. For cases when the above mentioned ‘Last Account Activity’ feature doesn’t reveal exact information about the location and device type, you can easily utilize the IP address details to trace the device from which your account was accessed by going to the below URL link (of IP address look-up website): http://whatismyipaddress.com/ip-lookup
3. To prevent any chances of suspicious activities being carried out in your Gmail account, always make sure that you delete browser history and cookies before you login to Gmail. Repeat this step after you log-out of your Gmail account. Do not ever forget to log-out from a Gmail session.
Thus, we have seen some useful steps which can help to keep track of potential hackers and illegitimate account users. It will help in maintaining the privacy of Gmail accounts as well as Facebook accounts.

Final Verdict
With the ever-increasing usage of internet in Nigeria and around the globe, people have started storing / exchanging pictures, documents, professional information, personal information, etc. via emails as well as via social networking sites like Facebook. However, like most other things in life, there have been more cases of intrusion on the private online space of people. In other words, the information that you share online may not be as safe you may think.
Hope some of these tips prove useful to you. Please feel free to share any other tips that might have worked for you!

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