You might be being surveilled. Its important to know how to check your Google account activity...
Review your recent Gmail access, browser sign-in history, and Google account activity to make sure no one other than you has used your account.
Whenever a computer is out of your direct view and control, there's always a chance that someone other than you can gain access. A person who returns from a trip might wonder if their computer and accounts have been accessed during their absence. A person might notice odd activity in Gmail, not aware that their password has been made public (or " pwned "). Or, in some cases, a person might be surveilled by a partner, a family member, a colleague, or even an unknown party.
To secure an account, you might first change your password , enable two-factor authentication , or even enroll in Google's Advanced Protection Program. Those steps will help you secure your account. However, in cases where people are unsafe because of domestic abuse, these steps will likely not be encouraged by an abuser-- help is available .
Checking your Google account activity by following steps can help you figure out if someone, other than you, is accessing your Gmail or Google account.
How to Check If Your Google Account Is Being Used By Someone Else
Did someone access my Gmail account?
In a desktop web browser, Gmail allows you to review recent email access activity. Select Details in the lower-right area below displayed emails, below Last Account Activity ( Figure A ).
Figure AIf your Gmail account has been accessed in other locations or on other devices, you may check Google account activity while signed in to Gmail from a desktop-class web browser.
The system will show you information about the most recent (Google account activity) 10 times your Gmail account has been accessed, along with the access type (browser, POP, mobile, etc.), location (IP address), and the date and time of access. This can help you identify if any of this access is from an unexpected device, place, or time.
Note: If you use a virtual private network or a hosted desktop, the location data may reflect information related to your service provider, instead of your physical address.
In a few cases, I've had clients concerned about access in an expected location, but at an unexpected time. Sometimes, this was simply because they'd left a computer on, with their browser or mail client open: The system could be configured to auto-check mail periodically. In one case, access occurred after a power outage. They'd configure the system to automatically power on after an outage, so it signed in and downloaded new mail shortly after power was restored.
Did someone access my browser?
In the Chrome browser--and on any Chromebook or Chrome OS device--press Ctrl+H to display browser history. Alternatively, type chrome://history in the omnibox, or select the three-vertical dot menu in the upper-right, then choose History | History. On macOS, press Command+Y. You may scroll through all available sites visited. Review these to see if any sites displayed are unexpected.
Additionally, you may enter search terms in the box displayed above the historical URLs listed. For example, search for "sign in," or copy and paste this link into your browser omnibox:
To display most site login pages ( Figure B ). Again, review the results for any sites you don't expect. You might search for "gmail.com" as well.
Use Ctrl+H (or on macOS, Command+Y) to display your browser history. You also may search history for terms, such as "login" or "sign in," as shown.
Did someone access my Google account?
Go to https://myactivity.google.com/ to access your Google account history across all devices and Google services, such as YouTube, Google Maps, Google Play, and more ( Figure C ). Depending on your security settings, you may need to re-authenticate when you attempt to access this information. Again, review any recorded data to make sure it corresponds with your usage.
The My Google Activity page displays any recorded access of web sites, apps, location, and YouTube.
Similarly, go to https://myaccount.google.com/device-activity to review a list of devices to which you've signed in with your Google account ( Figure D ). You may select the three-vertical dots in the upper-right of any displayed devices, then choose Sign Out to prevent any future access without re-authentication on a device.
You also may review the devices Where You're Signed In to your Google account. Select the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner of the box for each device to Sign Out of any device.
Go through Google's Security Checkup ( https://myaccount.google.com/security-checkup ) for a step-by-step review of every item Google's system identifies as a potential security issue. You wont have to check your Google account activity manually ( Figure E ).
Google's Security Checkup helps you review the security of your account, step-by-step. Altnough it is always best to review you Google account activity yourself.
Use Google Workspace (formerly G Suite)? Ask an administrator for help.
If you use Gmail and Google Workspace as part of an organization (e.g., work or school), an administrator may be able to do additional review of your account access data. To do this, the administrator will need to sign in to the admin console at https://admin.google.com . From the Admin console, they might go to https://admin.google.com/ac/ , select your account, then review security settings as well as connected apps and devices. Next, they might review all login information by going to the login report at https://admin.google.com/ac/reporting/audit/login , then filtering for your account ( Figure F ). Since this information is centrally logged by the system, access records will remain, even if the person accessing your account attempts to cover their tracks (e.g., by locally deleting browser history).
For organizational accounts, a Google Workspace administrator may review account settings (e.g., security, apps, and devices) and audit logs (e.g., account sign ins), as displayed in these two alternating screenshots.
Use A VPN To Ensure Data Security
If You are suspiciouce that you may being spyed on, a VPN is able to secure your information in a way similarly to the security that a home router provides. The only difference is that a local network shared over a common router is not dependent on the Internet to function. While a VPN is done exclusively over the Internet, with this lies inherent risks that need to be mitigated with additional security protocols.
To get started with a VPN the client and the provider will need to install software that allows the machines to communicate with each other while simultaneously ensuring encryption. The provider is usually controlled through a Remote Access Server, or RAS, and allows the transmitted information to be verified through various types of protocols and a tunneling process.
VPN Encryption In A Nutshell
A VPN Tunnel is an encrypted connection between you, the client, and the host or server. This tunneling process ensures that your information will be encapsulated so that no one will be able to intercept, alter, or even monitor your activity. Tunneling does more than just hide and tunnel your data from the rest of the Internet. Tunneling also ensures that your location will remain only known to you and the server that you are connected to. This is done by sending out the IP address of the host server that the VPN is running through rather then your own IP address, thus ensuring complete anonymity