While on holiday in France in May I received an email from Google "New sign-in".
Your Google Account was just used to sign in:
Nairobi, Kenya. Tuesday, 26 May 2015 22:10 (East Africa Time).
I hastily changed my password. I've never been to Kenya.
My question is: How did this happen? I believe I practised good security:
- My password was long—four words similar to
smoke daily us sitting(I chose this password in 2014, upgrading from something similar to
- I never used this password for anything else.
- I used two-factor authentication to receive codes by SMS (no smartphone, so no authenticator app).
- I created an app-specific password for my phone's email app (Nokia S40 phone).
Why didn't two-factor authentication stop the hacker? Here's what I did on holiday:
- Checked my email
- Used a web browser on my phone to log in to a Google website.
I can't remember which web browser I used. I had both Nokia Xpress (default browser) and Opera Mini. (Since then a software upgrade replaced the default browser with a version of Opera Mini). I know both of these work by 'sending the data via their servers'.
Is it possible a password or SMS was intercepted? All this happened while I was on holiday and using a foreign phone network. Has this happened to anyone else?
It's a shame Google didn't prevent the sign-in. Previously on another account Google contacted me "Suspicious sign-in prevented" when someone tried to log in from China.