How To Tell if Someone Else is Logging in to your GMail
Email is a fundamental part of our lives. Just like our phones, email has become such an intrinsic aspect of our existence that we do almost everything through it. That makes any email security breach pretty serious. Whether you use email for business, pleasure, sharing pictures or video or something completely different, you need to keep it safe. Here is how to tell if someone else is logging in to your Gmail.
Gmail is more compelling now Google no longer scans your emails in order to advertise to you. I use it and everyone I know has at least one Gmail account. I imagine you do too otherwise why are you reading this? Good job that Google takes security pretty seriously and provides some tools to help you maintain your privacy!
Identify if someone else is logging in to your Gmail
There is a nice and straightforward way to see exactly who has logged into your Gmail account, when and from where. It is built into Gmail although it is hard to find initially.
- Open your Gmail account in a web browser.
- Navigate to the bottom of the page and look for a tiny link in the center called Details.
- Select that link.
Above that link you should see the last account activity listed. This will be the last time your Gmail account was accessed. If that looks okay, the Details link should provide a popup window detailing the last ten times your Gmail account was accessed. It will show what browser was used, what country and even the IP address. It will also show you the date and time. You can use this data to analyze definitively whether someone else is logging in to your Gmail.
While you’re there, you may want to select the option to alert you to any suspicious activity, just in case.
If you do see signs of someone else accessing your Gmail, do this right away:
- Open your Gmail account in a web browser.
- Navigate to the bottom of the page and select Details.
- Select End all sessions at the top of the popup window.
- Select your account icon in the top right.
- Find Sign-in & security and select Signing in to Google.
- Select Password and change it to something different.
Other signs someone may be logging in to your Gmail
There are a couple of other ways to see if someone is logging in to your Gmail account. If someone is just reading your mails or looking in your google Drive, they may not leave a trace aside from the session data you will have seen above.
Other signs of someone accessing your Gmail include:
- Disappearing emails.
- Emails sent by someone and not in your inbox.
- Sent emails you didn’t send.
- People in your contact lists receiving email you didn’t send.
Secure your Gmail account
If you see strange activity or think your Gmail account is being accessed by someone else, you can take steps to secure it. Given the volume and sensitivity of the average person’s inbox, it makes sense to keep it as private as possible. Gmail helps you there too. As your Gmail login also allows access to Google Drive, Docs and other Google web apps, it pays to keep that login safe.
Gmail provides a couple of tools to help keep your emails secure. It allows you to end all web sessions, forcing anyone logged in, out. It also allows you to enforce two-factor authentication (2FA) for all logins which enhances security significantly. If you don’t use 2FA on your email, or any online account where it is available, you should do so today.
- Log into your google account and select the Two-step verification page.
- Select Get started.
- Follow the wizard to set things up.
The wizard requires you log in again, toggle on 2FA, give Google your phone number and then confirm the settings. From now on, every time you log into Gmail you will get an SMS code which you enter into the login screen. It takes an extra few seconds each time you log in but is a very effective way to secure your email account.
While you’re logged into Google, let’s just check one other thing.
- Navigate to your account icon in the top right of your Gmail window.
- Select My Account and Apps with account access under Sign-in & security.
- Check the apps allowed to have Gmail access.
- Remove any that you don’t need.
Depending on how and how often you use Gmail, there may be apps in there you granted access to some time ago. They offer a backdoor into your Gmail account for legitimate reasons but it is still a back door. If you don’t use the app with access, remove it.
Email is a vital communications medium and often a primary way we communicate, store personal data, images or videos. Keeping all that data safe is essential. If you use Gmail, at least you now know how to tell if someone else is logging in to your Gmail and how to secure it.