Yesterday, I posted on CyberGhost VPN – an application which allows users to surf the Web anonymously by connecting to a proxy server, effectively hiding the user’s real IP address.
Testing this application was easy – while running CyberGhost VPN I just duplicated a normal everyday Web session – including checking email accounts. Once I was satisfied that the application lived up to the developer’s claims (more or less), I signed out of CyberGhost and reverted to normal browser activity.
On signing back into my Gmail account, I was presented with the following “in your face” alert from Google – indicating that my email account had been accessed (maybe hacked), from Germany.
In any other set of circumstances this alert would have been a heart stopper. But, in this case, the alert was linked to the CyberGhost IP address generated while testing the application. A false alarm maybe, but a welcome false alarm.
One of the many reasons I’ve stuck with Gmail as my primary email service all this time is – this alert service Google provides in Gmail – the “Last account activity: … minutes ago at this IP..” alert. This applet can be manually activated from its position directly below the message pane.
Screen shot of a “clean” activity report. I have blanked out potions of this report for privacy purposes.
Just as I monitor my open connections while on the Internet with CurrPorts, I also scan the account activity alert frequently, while logged in to Gmail. In June of last year, this monitoring habit saved me from untold misery following a hack by Nigerian cyber crooks.
Since I was able to jump on this penetration immediately, I recovered my Gmail account on the spot, without having to jump through all the hoops Google sets out for those unlucky enough to lose control of their account.
Screen shot indicating my account had been hacked from Nigeria.
Google offers an excellent tutorial on “Last account activity”, and if you’re a Gmail user, I urge you to check it out. Believe me, the very last thing you want to have to deal with is a compromised Gmail account.
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