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Author Topic: Google Mail Blocking Logins  (Read 290 times)

aesmith

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Google Mail Blocking Logins
« on: April 15, 2019, 02:51:14 PM »

Hi,

A family member has an issue with Gmail, where it keeps blocking her applications or devices from connecting to the account. She sometimes gets a message from Google saying that access has been blocked, but it seems like sometimes under her account it lists the access attempts that it's blocked, but sometimes block is just listed as "Suspicious sign-in attempt prevented" with no apparent way of permitting.   Last night her Ipad, Iphone and Thunderbird email client were all locked out as "suspicious", even though they've been in regular use even during that day.  It was quite a business getting that lot unblocked since all normal lines of communications were blocked.

It seems to be triggered by the devices losing Internet connection, for example if the router is rebooted, then when they reconnect Google finds them "suspicious".

Only her personal account is affected.  Mine isn't and neither is the Gmail account she has for an association even though that's on the exact same devices.

Any ideas as to why this keeps happening, and is there any way to tell Google to permit ANY connection that has the correct password?

Thanks, Tony S
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gt94sss2

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Re: Google Mail Blocking Logins
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 03:20:13 PM »

I wonder if enabling two factor authentication would help reassure Google that the logins were legitimate.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Google Mail Blocking Logins
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 05:23:45 PM »

I suppose there’s no possibility that her account really has been hacked or phished?

I think for example that an email apparently from Google notifying of suspicious activity would, in itself, quite probably be a phishing scam...

I’d second the suggestion for  two factor authentication, if not already in use.
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aesmith

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Re: Google Mail Blocking Logins
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 05:54:36 PM »

I suppose there’s no possibility that her account really has been hacked or phished?
The Google account log shows the blocked sign in attempts, and these correspond to her attempts to access her email.  Strangely the devices are just called "Unknown Device" when they're blocked, but then when permitted in they're identified as Iphone, Ipad etc.   IP addresses are correct, I can see she was blocked twice from our home yesterday and on the 11th, and once from another family home last week. 

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I think for example that an email apparently from Google notifying of suspicious activity would, in itself, quite probably be a phishing scam...
The Google emails go to the email account that she has set as a recovery option for her main Gmail, not to the account itself, so as a scam they sender would need to know the identities of those two accounts.  However it's clearly sensible not to follow the link in the email but to log into the account via a web browser instead.

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I’d second the suggestion for  two factor authentication, if not already in use.
How does that work with phone or Ipad, or with any email client for that matter?   I can't see it being very practical if it kicks in every time a mobile device loses then re-establishes network connectivity, or moves from one network to another.  However I've not tried to see what happens.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Google Mail Blocking Logins
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 06:57:27 PM »

Obviously, with 2SV you can sign in on any browser, verified by a text message.  You configure a list of different phones, including landlines if desired.   Then when trying to log in, you choose which one should receive the message.

Once you have set up 2sv, you can configure “App specific passwords”.  These are strong machine generated passwords, that provide access to restricted parts of the google account, without exchanging text messages. 

For example, I have a script that runs daily on a linux box, backing up my google mail accounts.   To make that work, and allow it to connect without receiving  a text message, I created another app specific password, solely used by the script.  It also means the linux box does not need to “know” my personal google password, so cannot leak it.

For a while I used thunderbird mail on my iMac, and that too had its own password.  If there is ever a concern that an App specific password has been compromised, for example if my linux box had been stolen by burglars, I can revoke that one password without affecting anything else.

Using the native Apple mail app in modern iOS devices you don’t even need App specific passwords.   They are able to validate that the physical device in your hands provides the second verification step, I honestly can’t remember the details.
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aesmith

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Re: Google Mail Blocking Logins
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2019, 10:58:42 AM »

That's great thanks.  I think what I'll do is set this up for one of my test Gmail accounts and go through it all before doing the same for her.  It also occurred to me that her recovery email isn't too clever as it ends up in the same mailbox.  That would be an easy first step irrespective of the two factor.

Quick question, does the fact that she has two Apple devices using the built-in mail program cause any issues with app specific passwords?   If I remember rightly when I added her second Gmail account onto the phone it automatically appeared on the Ipad as well, so clearly at some level they're seen as the same device.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Google Mail Blocking Logins
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2019, 12:52:26 PM »

Quick question, does the fact that she has two Apple devices using the built-in mail program cause any issues with app specific passwords?   If I remember rightly when I added her second Gmail account onto the phone it automatically appeared on the Ipad as well, so clearly at some level they're seen as the same device.

I have an iMac, iPhone and iPad, all synced to the same (*see note) gmail accounts.  Each device can see the other's sent/received etc, they can even see one another's 'drafts'.   I don't remember it causing any problems, other than a slight moment of panic when I activated mail on a new iPhone post iOS 8 and realised it no longer needed App specific passwords.  Panic: had I accidentally turned it all off, or worse, had a sinister attacker turned it off?  But no, I did convince myself that I understood it at the time, and concluded all was good.   Unfortunately that knowledge is now filed under "things I have forgotten", and I can't seem to find it anywhere online.    Google have various pages that basically say it "just works" for iOS native Mail without explaining how, I guess we just have to trust them.  For example https://support.google.com/mail/answer/185833?hl=en

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Note: If you have iOS 8.3 or greater on your iPhone or OSX 10.10.3 or greater on your Mac, you will no longer have to use App passwords to use 2-Step Verification when using the Gmail or any Google branded Apps from iTunes. Using the Google option on the native iOS mail client also does not require App passwords.

*Note: Worth confessing the accounts I refer to are actually accounts hosted by Google Apps that I picked up when it was Free (precursor of the rather expensive 'G Suite').  To the best of my knowledge, as far as email is concerned, Google Apps Mail is just a dressing around gmail, allowing me use my own domain names instead of @gmail.com.  I have never tried it with a bog standard @gmail.com account, but I'm pretty sure behaviour is exactly the same as applied to this thread.
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aesmith

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Re: Google Mail Blocking Logins
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2019, 01:38:18 PM »

Cheers, and you've reminded me that my personal Gmail account is also in fact Google Apps with my own domain (also dating back to when it was free), so that's a difference between my account and hers.    My test account that I will test first is Gmail.
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