How To Benefit From Google Account Activity Reports

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 26, 2012

A compromised Internet account could have disastrous consequences. From deleted data to impersonations and malicious activities, it is all possible once access to an account has been gained by third parties. For webmasters and businesses, it can even mean the end of the business, if attackers decide to delete  a businesses Places account, or sell domain names and websites if they have gotten hold of a web hosting account.

Google Account Activity Reports summarize a Google user's account activity over a period of time. The opt-in service analyzes account- and service specific information, and displays a summary of the findings on the Account Activity page.

Google Account Activity Report

Once you have opted-in, you will receive email notifications when reports have been created. When you open the linked website, you will see a page that is looking similar to the one below.

Probably the most important information are found right at the top under Account sign-ins. Here you see the locations, browsers and platforms used to sign-in to the Google account. This alone can provide you with valuable information. If you spot a location that you are sure you have not signed-in from, or a browser or operating system that you are not using, then you should investigate the matter further to make sure that there is an explanation for it (other than a successful attack).

You should move the cursor over the locations listing, as Google seems to limit the list to three entries, even if there are more locations sign-ins have been recognized from.

locations

You will not only see all sign-in locations in the mouse over, but also the network providers. Looking at my listing, I'm still puzzled about the supernews log in from France, as I have no idea what that is all about. Possible explanations are virtual private networks that you have used to connect to the Internet, or Internet use while traveling.

You also see authentication changes, like the addition or removal of alternate email addresses, application-specific passwords, and connected apps, sites and services in that period of time.

Depending on the services that you are using, you may also see activities for those services. In my case, Google displayed both Gmail and YouTube statistics on the same page.


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  1. Crodol said on April 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Just signed up for it, thanks for the tip!

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