I should have known better…
The quirky email address from the “sender”, using a mailinator domain should have tipped me off to the hoax. If I weren’t busy and using my mobile device for web access and had time to review the thing carefully as I usually do, I wouldn’t have gotten hooked. But, I did, as did millions (perhaps) of others, so here is what I did to resolve the situation:
I revoked authorizations to ALL apps having access to my google account. The gateway to your google account information is here. Under “Sign-In And Security”, go to “Connected apps and sites” and revoke them all. This is probably a good thing to do periodically anyway, considering that you may have closed the accounts for some of the apps, or wish to close the account but can’t find a way to do so, etc.
I changed my password to something long, alpha-numeric, upper and lower case letters, non-pronounceable. Most hacking succeeds because of sloppy password hygiene. The low-hanging fruit of digital security is to install and use a password manager. They are generally inexpensive and more than pay for themselves in terms of security and peace of mind. I use LastPass, paid edition and have happily done so for 5 years, across all of my devices. (Full Disclosure: I am not paid or compensated in any way by LastPass). There are plenty of alternatives, just google “password managers”. It’s more important to obtain and use a good one than to quibble over which one.
I logged out of my google account and logged into it again using my newly generated password. As you begin to interface with applications requiring permission to access your account, you can then proactively accept or reject the request.
Lastly, if you really want to be thorough, you also have the option of clearing out your browser’s cache, cookies and history. Each browser is different, but for Google Chrome, the path to these settings is reached by going to “Settings”, “Privacy” under “Advanced” and then selecting “Clear Browsing Data”. Be careful to read the instructions before proceeding.