Cloud based mail hacked (but no backup), mail almost lost story (no – not my account)

Recently, I read an article in a non-computer magazine. It was about how this writer for the magazine in question discovered [the hard way] that his wife’s Gmail account was hacked. After that was a battle with Google.

Contacts in his wife’s Gmail account started to receive messages from “her” stating that she was stuck in Madrid and she was mugged. She had no money left, no hotel room, etc.

I think the majority of the contacts investigated – mostly by first calling their residence to verify. So no money was lost.

He then started to make arrangements to take over the account. But that’s when it also was painful.

Seems the hacker dumped 6 years’ worth of Email in addition to evidence that any mail was sent or received from the account. Any incoming mail was forwarded to another Gmail account that looked almost exactly like the hacked account except for one additional character. The address to recover the password was also changed.

He initiated a restore of old Emails. But for whatever reason – in an automated message – only mail since the beginning of the year [some 1000 messages] were restored – leaving thousands unrestored.

If it wasn’t for the fact that the writer knew some high placed people it probably stopped there. But over the next little while the remaining 5+ years of mail were restored.

The author gave a suggestion for those who used cloud based mail services [i.e. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.]. Install a mail client that can access these cloud based mail services [I think Outlook Express has issues while Outlook may need an add-on]. Configure the client to retrieve your mail off the service [but use the configuration option in the client not to delete any mail off the server]. Then backup the data.

So if something like this happens, you can recover.

PS – A Google official says hacked new accounts occur in the “low thousands” per day. Only?

PPS – With the hack, he has yet to see anything suspicious with credit cards or possible ID theft. The 6 years of data was dumped so that they couldn’t warn people the Email account was hacked.

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About ebraiter
computer guy

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