Google, like any other large web company, faces the problem of account hijacking. There are plenty of reasons why someone would want to steal your account credentials, from spam to using it to get by into your company’s internal security. A few months ago, Google introduced a suspicious activity warning in Gmail which notified the user if the system believed the account had been accessed by unauthorized persons. Now its doing the same for all of its services and will display a warning in the Google Dashboard.
“A few months back we launched a feature in Gmail that notifies you when our servers automatically detect suspicious log in activity on your account. Since this has been effective in helping people identify improper access, we decided to extend it to all our Google Account users, not just GMail. Starting this week, If we detect any suspicious log in on any of your Google Account products, we’ll display a notification on your Google Dashboard,” Yariv Adan, Product Manager at Google wrote.
Google uses a rather unsophisticated but effective technique to determine if your account is possibly being accessed without your permission or knowledge. It logs the IP address of every login attempt and uses it to determine the area where you are likely to be accessing your account. If a login attempt from another country or region is being made, a short while after you’ve used your account in your regular area, Google will deem this suspicious activity.
Because there are plenty of times when this may happen accidentally and legitimately, Google doesn’t take any actions besides displaying the notification. And since this will be on the Google Dashboard, which plenty of people don’t even know exists, it’s unlikely to have much of an impact. Thankfully, this is not Google’s only line of defence, it if detects malicious activity other than just suspicious logins, automated systems kick in, possibly even suspending the account. But for those worried others may be accessing their accounts, it’s a very welcomed tool.