Tuesday, 29 April 2008

And under these boughs unbound

I have been a gmail user for some time now. I like it far more than hotmail or what have you, and it has been working well for me. Labels! Wonderful! I love labels! A handy search option! easy forwarding! Organising email into conversation! More labels! My love for gmail has only grown as time goes on.

That is, until last week, when I tried to log in to my gmail account. I put in what I knew to be the password, but I received an (un)helpful message telling me that I had entered an incorrect password. Hmmph. Well, typos happen to the best of people, so I tried again. No go. Again, slower. No luck. At this point, a big ol' "WTF" is flashing across my brain. After repeating this process several times, I clicked on the "I have forgotten my password" link.

I answered a series of easy questions (postal code? library card number?) and was given the option to change my email password. "Alright," I thought, "perfect." So I entered in what was supposed to be my password and logged into my account. (Now, this may not have been the best idea, in retrospect. But it seemed like the logical plan of action to me at the time).

Perfect! I checked my mail, replied to some emails, all the usual. After I've finished, I log out to see if I can log back in, just because I have this bad feeling about it. When I enter the password... I get the same message about entering the wrong password.


I went back into "forgotten password" and tried to change it again. No, says gmail, gotta wait 5 days. In the meantime, they have helpfully sent information about changing my password to my "secondary email". I can't remember ever having entered a secondary email, so I spend an hour trying to uncover any emails I used to have, which requires further question answering, and account re-activation, but still no luck. I decide to finally hit the scary button. "I think my account may have been compromised."

Gmail helpfully sends me to a page with more questions about my account than I can answer. Some are easy, but some are really hard -- like "What day did you start using gmail?". An exact date. Uh. Right. I definitely know that.

I enter as much as I can (April?) and send it to gmail. I give them my blog email to contact me with. Minutes later, I receive an email informing me they can't give me access to my account because my questionnaire was not complete enough.

So right now, I stand having lots all of my emails, all my improv conversations, old love letters, job information... everything. Gone. And I have no idea what to do.


Milan said...

It sounds like you could be the victim of a hacked account.

How often do you change your password?

Do you ever log into GMail from computers belonging to other people? Or from a school network?

Is your password a dictionary word, or a dictionary word combined with a few random letters or numbers at the beginning or end?

Because GMail accounts contain so much information, the passwords should be bullet proof. Also, you should avoid logging into them from non-trusted machines.

La Canadienne said...

Milan -

I never change my password, ever... until now. I guess I've learned that lesson. My password is fairly fancy, letters and numbers. It was before and still it.

I always log on from my computer, and school computers now and then, but I've never had a problem with those before, nor have I heard of anyone having a problem. Maybe something happened while I was on the interet in Halifax. That is my current theory.