Google to Warn Users of State-Run Cyber Attacks

Banner alert will reveal 'bad actors' at work
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jun 5, 2012 11:33 PM CDT
Updated Jun 6, 2012 2:50 AM CDT
Flowers lie outside Google's China headquarters in 2010 after the firm began suggesting search term alternatives to dodge censors. Now Google will warn users about state-sponsored cyber attacks.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

(Newser) – Big Brother might be watching ... Google. In a strange new world, Google officials have announced they plan to issue warnings when they suspect that "state-sponsored" cyber attacks are targeting users. The banner alert will read: “Warning: We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer. Protect yourself now." If "you see this warning it does not necessarily mean that your account has been hijacked. It just means that we believe you may be a target, and that you should take immediate steps to secure your account," writes Eric Grosse, the company's VP of security engineering on The blog posting offers protection tips, such as immediately changing passwords and updating systems.

Google doesn't name which states may be behind such cyber attacks, but China is a key suspect. In 2009 the nation attempted to gain access to the Gmail accounts of Chinese dissidents, notes ABC News. China was also suspected in online attacks in a bid to steal intellectual property and source code information. “You might ask how we know this activity is state-sponsored. We can’t go into the details without giving away information that would be helpful to these bad actors, but our detailed analysis—as well as victim reports—strongly suggest the involvement of states or groups that are state-sponsored,” writes Grosse. (Read more Google stories.)

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