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06 June 2012, 11:15

Google will warn users of potential state-sponsored attacks

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Zoom Google now warns users if it believes they may be the target of state-sponsored attacks
Source: Google
Google has introduced a new warning system to alert users of its online services to suspected attacks on their accounts by state-sponsored agencies. In a post on the company's Online Security Blog, Google VP of Security Engineering Eric Grosse has revealed that, where such an attack is suspected, a clear warning will now be displayed when a user logs into Google. He does not, however, say what has prompted the company to introduce the warning.

The red warning message is displayed at the top of the browser window and reads, "Warning: We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer." A "Protect yourself now" link leads to a web page which explains how users can better protect their private data from unwanted access.

"If you see this warning it does not necessarily mean that your account has been hijacked," writes Grosse, "It just means that we believe you may be a target, of phishing or malware for example, and that you should take immediate steps to secure your account." These steps include creating a more secure password and enabling 2-step verification, as well as keeping operating systems, browsers and plugins up to date.

Grosse does not reveal how Google determines that an attack is the work of state agencies or state-sponsored hackers – "We can’t go into the details without giving away information that would be helpful to these bad actors," but he says that detailed analysis by Google and reports from victims provide clear evidence that states or state-sponsored groups are involved.


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