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Gmail Hacking Prevention and Recovery

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DialANerd makes no representations or guarantees that�following these steps will resolve your Gmail problems. You follow this information at your own risk.

A DialANerd customer recently had their Gmail account hacked. The hacker deleted their e-mails and their contacts. When this happens there is no way to contact Google in order to restore your e-mail and contacts. This is most frustrating because it appears that all that information is lost. Consequently, the old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" applies.


Gmail contacts can be saved on your PC as a comma separated variable (CSV) file. This is a simple export function that is a feature of Gmail. To export contacts, open contacts and select more actions. A drop-down menu appears with a selection permitting the export of contacts as shown in Figure 1 Export Menu Selection below.

Figure 1 Export Menu Selection

Once selected a new panel pops up that permits all the contacts to be asked boarded as a CSV file. See Figure 2 Export CSV Window.

Figure 2 Export CSV Window

It is possible the same all your e-mails as files on your PC as well. This requires downloading and using as special Gmail export program. This program is found at:


The program found at this link can be downloaded, installed, and then run to export all of the Gmail e-mail files to a folder on your local PC. Once downloaded, the e-mails downloaded can be deleted from Gmail. This is a way to reduce the amount of storage use at Gmail while making backup copies of the e-mails on your local PC. Backing up your contacts and your e-mails is a way to mitigate the impact of a hacker attack that the deletes the contacts and e-mails from your Gmail account.

There is another technique that can permit you to say all your e-mails automatically. This technique requires that you set up a separate e-mail account on another service provider such as Yahoo or Hotmail. In this case you create an e-mail account say@yahoo.com. Then you set up Gmail to forward all of the e-mails to that Yahoo account automatically. In this manner every e-mail received is saved on your Gmail account and also forwarded to the new account@yahoo.com. Yahoo.com now provides you an automatic backup of all of the e-mails that you have received. To configure your Gmail account to forward e-mails to our Yahoo account, select account settings from the drop-down menu that appears when you point to your account name. See Figure 3 Account Settings Drop-down Menu Selection.

Figure 3 Account Settings Drop-down Menu Selection

After selecting account settings a new Gmail Window appears. In that Window there is a Gmail settings selection. See Figure 4 Gmail Settings Selection.

Figure 4 Gmail Settings Selection

Pointing to the word settings, then clicking on it leads you to be Gmail configuration settings options. These settings options have a “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” menu selection. Selecting this leads you to the forwarding menu. See Figure 5 Forwarding Menu.

Figure 5 Forwarding Menu

The figure shows that morning is able to a Yahoo account and that all of Gmail's e-mails are kept in the Gmail inbox as well. Now I have a copy at Gmail as well as a copy at Yahoo.

For added security you should make the passwords on the Gmail account and a Yahoo account different from one another. In the event that the Gmail account is compromised, then the hacker must discover a new password to compromise the Yahoo! account as well. When e-mail is really important to you, every e-mail account should have a password that is different from every other e-mail account to provide adequate security from hackers.


To recover your data you must go to the "Recovering your password" selection under Google accounts. See Figure 6 Recovering Your Password. This recovery procedure requires that you remember certain information that you entered when you set up your Gmail account originally. If you cannot remember it, now is a good time to go and reenter that information and document it so you have at your fingertips in the event you need to recover your account. This means that you want to write down your password and the challenge question with its answer spelled exactly as required as well as other information used to establish your Gmail account. See Figure 6 Recovering Your Password.

You may also recover your account by using Google's help feature and click on "someone took over my account". That leads to some security questions that when answered sufficiently allow "help" to permit access to the old Gmail account.

Figure 6 Recovering Your Password

First reset your password to a brand-new password. It is a good idea to reset the password on all of your related e-mail accounts with each account having its own unique password.

The second thing you want to do is to verify that the hacker has not set up forwarding of your e-mails to another account as shown above in Figure 5 Forwarding Menu. If you discovered that forwarding has been set up, and send it to Google. When you send the e-mail address to Google it may assist in identifying the hacker. Reset the forwarding so that there is no forwarding to the hacker's bogus e-mail account.

After you have recovered your password, and reentered your Gmail account it is possible to recover your deleted e-mails and your Gmail calendar. In fact the Gmail calendar may be intact because it requires a lot of work to delete each individual calendar entry. The Gmail calendar is not e-mail so it may not have been attacked by the hacker.

To recover your old e-mails go into the Gmail account using the new password, go to sidebar "more", then go to trash. See Figure 7 Gmail Trash.

Figure 7 Gmail Trash

Now search and select emails from the trash, then click on "move to inbox" to recover those e-mails. The trash may also be searched for e-mails from specific contacts or on specific subjects. See Figure 8 Searching Trash.

Figure 8 Searching Trash

Alternately you may select all e-mails up to a specific date and move them to the inbox. Unless your e-mails have been deleted permanently, you should be able to recover them in this fashion.

Here's hoping that this recovery process works for you. Good luck.

Pete the nerd

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