Google Issues New State-Sponsored Attack Warnings; Tens of Thousands on the Receiving End
New warnings of suspected state-sponsored attacks have been issued by Google concerning “malicious attachments, links to malicious software downloads and links to fake websites [..] designed to steal your passwords and personal information,” reports nbcnews.
A similar batch of messages was sent out in June.
While Google states its “internal systems are not compromised” and these warnings are only a precaution, users are “strongly recommended that [they] avoid clicking links or attachments in suspicious messages,” according to the warning page.
To help fend off account hijacking, Google users are recommended to enable a 2 step verification feature which adds a unique code as an extra layer of safety. Changing Google e-mail and account passwords and running software updates are also on the list.
Mike Wiacek, information security team manager at Google, said in an interview for Bits that the company has been gathering information about the methods used and the groups involved in these attacks which led to “tens of thousands of new users” receiving the warning starting October 2. Noting that the attacks originated in “a slew of different countries” in the Middle East, Wiacek refrained from pointing fingers at any culprit.
Some high-profile users who got the warning took to Twitter to spread the news in quite a humorous way which qualified the attempted attacks as a status confirmation.
“Gmail tells me that state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise my account or computer. Looks like I’ve arrived!”, said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, director for the Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, as quoted by nbc.