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4 Tell-tale Signs of a Compromised Google Workspace Account (and What to Do Next)

4 Tell-tale Signs of a Compromised Google Workspace Account (and What to Do Next)

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How to identify and address a compromised Google Workspace account?

(Note: This post is for Google Workspace Admins. You’ll need an Admin account to perform most of the recommended actions below).

In our increasingly digital world, where remote work and eLearning have become the norm, the security of your Google Workspace account is of paramount importance. Cybercriminals are more determined than ever to exploit any security gaps in this remote shift. As we move into 2023, it’s crucial for Google Workspace Admins to stay vigilant and informed.

Sign #1: Unexpected Logins from Abroad

One of the first signs of a compromised Google Workspace account is unexpected logins from abroad. With remote work allowing employees to access their accounts from different locations, cybercriminals take advantage of this. As an admin, you should be alert to suspicious logins from ‘unexpected’ areas outside your country or city.

To enhance your vigilance, consider using third-party tools like GAT+ to set up alerts for logins from unexpected locations. GAT can provide real-time insights into login activities and help you identify and address suspicious logins promptly.

Sign #2: Increased Failed Login Attempts

A spike in failed login attempts and password reset messages is another alarming sign of a potential compromise. Hackers may attempt multiple logins to break into your domain, and even if they initially fail, it’s essential to stay vigilant.

Multifactor Authentication (MFA) has become a vital layer of security. With cybercriminals attempting to disable Two-factor Authentication (2FA), MFA provides a safer option. Encourage your users to enable MFA to protect their accounts.

Sign #3: Unusual Google Mail Activity

Cybercriminals often engage in subtle activities within compromised accounts, such as setting up email forwarding rules, deleting incoming mail, or creating new folders. These activities can go unnoticed amidst the daily email flow.

To stay ahead of attackers, set up Gmail alerts for suspicious activity. Additionally, in the relentless battle against phishing emails, GAT emerges as an invaluable ally for Google Workspace Admins. With around 1.5 million new phishing websites emerging monthly, the urgency to fortify defenses is paramount.

Sign #4: Suspicious Drive File Sharing Activity

If you notice unusual file sharing, spikes in file downloads, or transfers within your domain, it’s a red flag. These activities could indicate a compromised Google Workspace account or data leakage.

Take advantage of GAT+ to gain granular insights into Drive file shares and set up powerful Drive Data Loss Prevention (DLP) rules and alerts. GAT+ can provide advanced security measures beyond what’s available in the admin console.

What to Do When You Suspect a Compromised Account?

Promptness is key when dealing with a compromised Google Workspace account. Here’s a quick action plan:

  1. Confirm the Compromise: Check with the account owner and investigate the situation.
  2. Follow Google’s Security Steps: Refer to Google’s security guidelines for compromised accounts to take immediate corrective actions.
  3. Utilize GAT’s Tools: GAT offers valuable tools to enhance your security measures, such as real-time alerts and insights.

By staying informed and leveraging the right tools like GAT+, Google Workspace Admins can protect their domains effectively in today’s ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape.

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