Ultimate Guide on How to Recognize the Google Critical Security Alert Scam
The google critical security alert was designed to warn users about unauthorized access but lately, hackers have found a way to turn this feature around to their benefit.
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The google critical security alert scam is a type of phishing scam attackers use and in this article, we will cover how hackers can use this feature to their advantage, and what you can do when you are targeted.
How Google Critical Security Alert Scam Looks?
When a new device is used to log into your account, you get a notification thanks to the google critical security alert feature. This alert would come even if you are the one trying to log in, or if it’s an attacker trying to gain access and since there is no way to be sure who is logging in, Google would let you know so you can take timely steps to protect your account.
These warnings are most common when a user buys a new device and tries to log into their account from there, when you try to sign in from a work computer, or if you try to access your account via a VPN connection. With a VPN connection, even if you are using the same device google would see a different IP address and assume it’s from a different device.
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The trustworthy nature of this security feature is one of the reasons why hackers have found ways to exploit it and turn it into a skilled phishing attack. Many Gmail users have reported phishing emails that seemed legit from google. Most phishing emails from google critical security alert scam come in any of the following ways:
1 . The phishing email notifies the user of an attempted login from a strange device that was blocked by google. The user is then asked to check and review their activity through a link that would be provided. The button to be clicked on would be spoofed and leads to a malicious website where malware wou9ld be downloaded onto your device.
2. The phishing email notifies the user of unauthorized access, and requests for an immediate password reset via a link that would be provided in the email. The button would be spoofed and leads to a website similar to Google’s login page. All details entered here would be sent to the hacker.
How to Handle a Google Critical Security Alert Scam Mail?
1 . Don’t act based on impulse, but consider the possibility of the email is legitimate. Are you using a new device to log in, are you connected to a VP? Did you log in using a friend’s device, or did you login using your work computer? If you did any of these, then the email may be legitimate.
2. Confirm the sender. Is the email from a legitimate Google account? Don’t click on the sender or reply to the email. Just hover over the sender to get the details.
3. Scrutinize the quality of the text. Does it have any grammatical errors? How is the writing style? Is the structure formal enough to be from google? Big companies take their time to proofread every email sent to a user to ensure they are error-free. So if you discover any errors, even the slightest ones could be a pointer to phishing mail.
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4. Don’t befall for the temptation to click on any links on the email, or to download any files. No matter the call to action that is used, don’t.
5. To be sure that you are not falling into a trap, it’s better to check your account activity by going to your google account security checkup page to get more details. This page would display the devices that have been used to sign in, and how many of them are currently signed in. you can also check for recent activities and the third-party apps that have access to your account. look closely for any suspicious activity, and if there isn’t anything off, then it’s most likely a phishing email.
6. If you have done everything above and it turns out the alert you received was legitimate, it’s wise that you change your password. Read further on tips to check for suspicious activity and what you need to do to get your account back.
What If You Fell for The Google Critical Security Alert Scam?
If you were ignorant, or mistakenly clicked on any links on a phishing email, downloaded the attached files, or entered your details on a malicious website, it’s safe to say you may be in trouble. The hackers may already have control over your account, may have collected your password, or installed malicious software into your device.
At this point, hackers may be able to:
1 . Steal the passwords you have saved in your web browser or your hard drive
2. Take screenshots of your desktop
3. Download more malware to your device
4. Install other copies of the malware that was previously installed, especially if you had deleted it before
5. Steal your files, or edit and delete them
So if you suspect that someone has gotten into your device, or has some personal information about you, you should:
1 . Create stronger passwords. Use a password manager to store them rather than on your browser or drive.
2. Use an antivirus or antimalware scanner to locate the malware and delete it. It’s not easy and may require a bit of tech knowledge so if you can’t do it yourself, try visiting a professional for help.
Security features are some of the things that keep us secure, but when some of them are constantly used by hackers to have their way, users have to be extra careful. Google critical security alert scam is one of the ways hackers have turned a security feature that was meant to protect unauthorized access to your account into a means of stealing your information and installing malware to your device. With the tips here, you can prevent this attack and guard your privacy and security better.