Nov 25 AT 11:34 AM Brooks Barnard 8 Comments

Google’s new online security tool scared me for a minute

Device and Security Dashboard1

Indiana?!? Why is there a Windows machine with my account logged in in Indiana? Is there a friend there with a laptop I logged in on? I’m pretty sure I’ve NEVER been in Indiana? COULD MY ACCOUNT HAVE BEEN HACKED?!?

Google Device and Activity Dashboard phoneOn Monday, Google began offering a new online security tool to help users and IT managers monitor the different activity going on with their devices and accounts. Google is calling this the Devices and Activity Dashboard and it can be found within the Security tab of your Google Account settings. There, “the page shows a comprehensive view of all devices that have been active on an account in the last 28 days, or are currently signed in. And in case any suspicious activity is noticed, there‚Äôs a setting to immediately take steps to secure an account and change a password.”

So there I was, checking out the Devices and Activity Dashboard on my Nexus 5, concerned. I got about a click away from resetting my password and having to re-log into my account on all my devices. Not a huge issue, but definitely an inconvenience. Frankly, I felt suspicious. I have a relatively tough password on my Google Account. I JUST changed the password recently. I have Google’s two step authentication on. I feel like I would’ve been aware of suspicious activity on my account. Then I pull open my laptop to begin writing this news post about Google’s new Online Security tool and lo and behold, my current device is supposedly in Indiana. PHEW! I’ve not been hacked! Something is just not right on Google’s side or I learned that the area I live in might be called Indiana.

Either way, there are some lessons to be learned here. One, Google is offering a great new tool to track your account and device activity for users. Two, do a little investigation before you nuke the awesome password your just worked hard to create and memorize due to some suspicious account activity. And three, if there is some real suspicious activity, Google’s provided a really convenient link to take care of that.

How is this tool working for you? Think you’ll use it? Any suspicious activity that you couldn’t figure out? Any not-so-suspicious suspicious activity? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.

Source: Official Google for Work Blog

Brooks is an engineer living in the Bay Area recently dislocated from the Great Northwest. He's an Android enthusiast who decided to start doing something (productive?) with his countless hours Android modding and theming. He has a hot wife, is a father of three, an avid F1 fan, and enjoys watching sports when he can. His current devices include the Nexus 6 and 7 (2103) both running stock roms and may or may not be rooted. You can follow Brooks on Twitter @Brooks_Barnard.

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • Nicholas Moline

    You really should come to Indianapolis, Indiana. We are becoming the technology hub of the midwest. See Salesforce/ExactTarget etc….

    • Brooks Barnard

      If I get the chance I’ll jump on it.

    • Sean Riley

      Madison, Wisconsin #1!


    • Round 3 @ bring it on!

      I got hacked in Ferguson, MO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mickey M

    I had a scare with this, too.

    I went to look at my devices and a device named “Wife’s Old Xoom”, which we got rid of two years ago, was coming up as constantly logging in from my area.

    So I went through and changed my password and checked back after signing my devices back in. Low and behold — the device named “Wife’s Old Xoom” was listed again as inputting a password change. It had an IP address listed so when I checked my devices come to find out it was my Nexus 9.

    The odd thing is, my Nexus 9 has a line of its own, it had logged in an hour before, but never go the password change notification from it.

    Something is totally odd with this, and the fact that you can’t go in and delete devices makes it even worse.

    • Wade-0

      My old phone was showing up with an exclamation mark icon next to it, so I clicked it. It told me the device hadn’t been used in over a month, and suggested I remove its authorization if it was no longer in use. There was a button to remove authorization from the device, or cancel. Since I’ve replaced that phone, I clicked remove and it disappeared from the list.

      Maybe the interface is different when you’re viewing on a mobile device?

    • nmw407

      Had a scare too. It was showing an old Galaxy S2. I’ve never had a Galaxy S2. Turns out it was my rooted generic android tv stick. The rom on it was cobbled from an S2 and that’s what it identified.

      The funny thing is this android stick actually has 3 listings – one for itself, one id’ing it as S2 and one ID’ing it as a Galaxy S3.

  • ovivlion

    I had the same issue as you. I think I figured it out. If you have ipv6 enabled on your router disable it and will show your correct location, enabling it again showed Missouri for me.