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A friend of mine lives in Hong Kong and she travelled to China over the weekend. Whilst there, she was able to use Gmail on her Android phone without logging in again, but she had to re-login on her laptop to use her account (she didn't end up using it on her laptop). Something very strange happened while she was there: she received 14 text messages on her mobile phone with the same 6 digit Two Factor login code. She had never requested it herself.

What's going on here? Are the apps on her laptop automatically requesting this Two Factor code to be sent? Is this some sort of phishing attempt? Was someone (government?) trying to get into her account? If someone was trying to get in, I think it means they already know her password or else they would not be able to trigger those texts. She's definitely not a person of interest to the govt!

Am interested to hear thoughts on 1) What was happening? 2) What (if any) measures need to be taken now?

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1 Answer 1

It is very likely that the SMS alerts were simply caused by heuristic algorithms on Google's end detecting a login attempt from a new location where past failed login attempts have occurred on a frequent basis. Why was 14 text messages sent? I don't know. Probably a bug on Google's end.

I wouldn't worry but contact Google if you want to clarify the situation.

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