Google: Cable guy target of state-sponsored cyber attack
Late Friday afternoon, Google notified your humble Cable guy that they suspect he is the target of state-sponsored attacks on his Gmail account. "Warning: We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer," read a banner at the top of the screen. "Protect yourself now." We might have been asking for ...
Late Friday afternoon, Google notified your humble Cable guy that they suspect he is the target of state-sponsored attacks on his Gmail account.
"Warning: We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer," read a banner at the top of the screen. "Protect yourself now."
We might have been asking for it, considering that The Cable first reported the fact that Google would begin warning users if their accounts were targeted by foreign governments and their proxies, as part of Google’s ongoing effort to protect users from cyber repression and harassment.
It’s probably a coincidence that the state-sponsored attack on The Cable’s Gmail account came only days after we heavily criticized the Chinese government for not showing up at a major defense conference in Singapore last weekend, even prodding Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to comment on it.
Either way, we have taken undisclosed steps to tighten e-mail security here at The Cable. Here are some excerpts of the message we received after we clicked through the warning to Google’s help page:
Your account could be at risk of state-sponsored attacks
About the security threat
If you were directed to this page from a warning displayed above your Gmail inbox, we believe that state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer.
It’s likely that you received emails containing malicious attachments, links to malicious software downloads, or links to fake websites that are designed to steal your passwords or other personal information. For example, attackers have often been known to send PDF files, Office documents, or RAR files with malicious contents. We strongly recommend that you avoid clicking links or attachments in suspicious messages.
It’s important to note that Google’s internal systems are not compromised and that this message does not refer to one specific campaign. We routinely receive abuse reports from users, as well as from our internal systems that monitor for suspicious login attempts and other activity. To help defend the integrity of these systems, we aren’t sharing more details about these attacks. However, after carefully studying the abuse reports, we decided to show you the message in Gmail to help warn and protect you from potential attacks.
Take that Dan Drezner….
Josh Rogin is a former staff writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshrogin
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