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If your Google Calendar seems like it’s been hacked, here’s what to do

Mike Murphy
Vic Gundotra showing off Google calendar

A bizarre phenomenon bubbling up around the internet seems to have come to a head in the last few days. If you use Google as your calendar, you may have noticed a series of events on it that you don’t remember bering invited to, and probably have no interest in attending.

Much like AirDropped messages on the subway, unsolicited messages on social media, and spam mail, it seems that nothing online is safe from digital invasion. Annoying pseudo-hackers appear to be scouring the web for Google email addresses and spamming them with calendar invites that are essentially just ads for dubious products that most likely contain links you definitely shouldn’t click:

The iPhone X is a weird choice too for spam, given that it’s a nearly two-year-old smartphone that Apple doesn’t even sell anymore.

Although Google Calendar’s Twitter account hasn’t sent out a tweet informing users there’s a specific issue, it’s been responding to countless tweets over the last 24 hours of people complaining they’ve received spam invites on their calendar, many for an iPhone X.

How to stop unsolicited calendar events

Thankfully, getting rid of the spammy calendar events isn’t too difficult. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Go to Google Calendar on a desktop or laptop computer.
  2. Click on one of the offending events.
  3. Click the menu icon, which is the three vertical dots.
  4. Click “Report as Spam.” This should remove all the spam events

To stop this from happening again:

  1. Near the top-right of the page, click the gear icon.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click “Event Settings” from the left-hand menu.
  4. Click on the “Automatically add invitations” drop-down menu.
  5. Click “No, only show invitations to which I have responded.”

The only concern is that you may now miss some invitations you receive for events that you actually want to attend. Google seems to be aware of the issue.

“Calendar users have the ability to report spam and prevent events from automatically being added to their calendar grid,” a spokesperson for Google Calendar told Quartz. ” While we’ve made great progress, sometimes spam gets through, so we are investing in new ways for users to identify and block spammers and we expect these changes to roll out over the coming months.”

This post has been updated with a comment from Google.

 

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