The already strained relationship between Google and China became more complex today as the search giant revealed a recent attack on prominent users of Gmail that originated in Jinan, China. Google says hundreds of specifically targeted victims including US government officials and Chinese activists were tricked into sharing their email passwords with "bad actors" in China, the Wall Street Journal reports.
A Google security expert says perpetrators used the stolen passwords to receive incoming emails sent to the victims' accounts in an apparent attempt to monitor their content. Victims of the hijacking were notified and their accounts have been secured. Eric Schmidt downplayed the incident, saying, "Lots of other companies were attacked in similar ways. It is better to be transparent about these things." He added that the company is "massively more protected than we were a year ago," when it accused the Chinese government of launching an attack on its system.