Internet giant Google will warn users if their email accounts are identified as a target of state-sponsored spying, in a bid to protect activists, journalists and political figures.
Gmail user accounts of powerful public figures, including American and South Korean officials, military personnel and democracy activists, have been targeted by hackers believed to be working for the Chinese government, said Google in a statement.
Eric Grosse, Google’s vice president of security engineering, said, “We are constantly on the lookout for malicious activity on our systems, in particular attempts by third parties to log into users’ accounts unauthorized.”
Similar problems arose in the past for Gmail users when spam emails were used by hackers to target specific highly important group of public personalities. Grosse added, “When we have specific intelligence – directly from users or from our own monitoring efforts – we show clear warning signs and put in place extra roadblocks to thwart these bad actors.”
The threatened Gmail user’s account will flash a red bar at the top to alert the user of malicious activity. While the details of the “security measures” to be used were not published due to security reasons, Google said “detailed analysis” and “victim reports” have indicated the involvement of groups that are “state-sponsored”.
In a bid to protect the user’s information, Grosse said, “We believe it is our duty to be proactive in notifying users about attacks or potential attacks so that they can take action to protect their information. And we will continue to update these notifications based on the latest information.”
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