I'm screwed

By mikedammann ยท 11 replies
Jul 30, 2007
  1. my gmail account got hacked, used to get info on some of my accounts and then my gmail account got deleted.
    I have no doubt spyware was used.
    Two questions:
    1) My gmail account shows as unavailable. I cannot register it again. Yet when I try to get information, it tells me that the account name doesn't exist. How can I get Google to restore my account for me?
    2) What should I do to secure myself from now on?

    Thank you so much to those of you helping me with this. It's quite overwhelming.

    Mike Dammann
  2. M0ntG0M3rY

    M0ntG0M3rY TS Rookie Posts: 48

    Google says here that if Gmail service has been deleted from your Google Account, it can't be re-enabled and the username can't be reused. This means that it's not possible to access or forward the contents of the account.

    You can visit http://mail.google.com/mail/signup to create a new account, but you'll need to select a new username.

    Regarding your second question, please read these two threads:

    If your system is infected, please read this before deciding: Cleaning or Formatting

    Viruses/Spyware/Malware, preliminary removal instructions
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,124   +982

    First, make sure you have TWO email accounts; one for private use with your
    trusted friends and the second for use in forums/IM/Chat. The second may
    get hijacked for spamming others, and if so, you just abandon it and go to another.

    NEVER post your private email to a public forum as part of the message text;
    eg: please contact me at xyz@123.com
    this is another way the spammers find addresses.

    There are two means to get email;
    1. Pop3 email client software installed on your PC (like Outlook Express)
    2. Web based email systems where you use your browser to access the email
      like Yahoo Email

    The Pop3 client software is easily hijacked and attachments can install virus'
    and keylogger to steal your identity.

    Web based email can not do this!
  4. mikedammann

    mikedammann TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks for the help, nice to hear the account name will not be available to someone else. Will keep you guys posted. Thanks a lot!
  5. mikedammann

    mikedammann TS Rookie Topic Starter

    this is quite disturbing, I will still try to get my old email addy forwarded to my new one. This should be a warning to everyone not to use an @gmail account but rather have gmail be your email host on your OWN domain name.

    Mike Dammann
  6. sarahk

    sarahk TS Rookie

    The situation sucks - and it's spurred me on to review my gmail usage. I really like their spam filtering even though I have 2 tools working on my home PC I prefer to have it removed before I download it.

    I've just added a new email address on my domain. I may lose the emails if something goes wrong, but I can't lose the account! Needless to say I'm going to be using that email at those forums I moderate or admin!
  7. mikedammann

    mikedammann TS Rookie Topic Starter

    it's a total disaster, I had no clue that Google would not help with this. I have yet to reach an open ear in their department. Like I've said, any help from anyone would be deeply appreciated.
  8. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,334   +36

    I read this thread with some amazement. First, how the email account got hacked. I see so many users posting their email addresses on message boards- some even come with their phone numbers!

    What kind of security do you have set up? Firewall? Anti-virus? Spyware/Adware programs- at least 2, updates and scanned with often? No doubt this is devastating to you, but learn from it , "How" did the account get hacked. How much information is now out of your control? What steps have you taken to get control back?

    It seems like the finger is being pointed at Google- is that because you don't feel they've "helped" o because you fault their overall email security? Because they did help you by deactivating the account and retiring your email address! And you want to use that old address so you don't miss any mail?!
  9. mikedammann

    mikedammann TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, I want to have the old email address forwarded to my new one, because that one is out there everywhere. I blame no one but me, but looking at this
    I also think that there are some gmail specific security issues which could be taken care of.
  10. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,334   +36

    Mike, blame accomplishes nothing unless you learn from what happened. The hacking methods outlined in the article are standard hack tracks. From what I read, it doesn't sound like it was GMail-specific as it also mentions Yahoo and Hotmail.

    A well-configured firewall and careful practice should keep most of that 'stuff' out. And I wish everyone who ignores Cookies would read about them being 'hijacked'!

    By the way, you should delete your Cookies after going to that site. There is a Tracking Cookie!

    If you're interested in what some of the hacker terms mean and what they do, Robert Graham wrote the book on firewall information. He doesn't maintain his site anymore, but others have his information:

    FAQ: Firewall Forensics (What am I seeing?)
  11. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,124   +982

    one does not need to hack anything to acquire email addresses --
    your friends to it to you too :(

    eg: You mail a note to a list of correspondents using TO: ... for each one of them.

    1) everyone on the list sees all recipients
    2) if the email is forwarded to another list, then the visibility compounds
    3) ANYONE that wants to can forge your email address

    Defense: NEVER add correspondents as additional TO: ...
    use the BCC: feature as that hides all others and any subsequent forward will
    not disclose the original list.

    caveot: your email address used for sending the email will always 'stick' to it
    and is subject to forging.
  12. mikedammann

    mikedammann TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you guys. Google has just replied to me:

    I'm not blaming them, just the fact is that within a few hours after the attack I have emailed them and never gotten a reply from them. I will still see if there is anything I can do to get my account name back. I will also keep blogging about it here:

    I'm linking to this thread from my blog post as well so others can learn from this.

    What a cool forum you guys have, too bad I had to find it due to such a bad event. A good friend of mine, Michael Goldman is the one who recommended you guys very highly.

    Thanks again!

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