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New Security Warnings for Suspected “State-sponsored Attacks” in Google Accounts

In its efforts to lookout for malicious activity on users systems, “in particular third party attempts to log into users’ accounts unauthorized — Google starting today, begin showing security warnings for suspected state-sponsored attacks.

“When we have specific intelligence–either 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. Today, we’re taking that a step further for a subset of our users, who we believe may be the target of state-sponsored attacks,” posted Eric Grosse, VP Security Engineering.

“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, of phishing or malware for example, and that you should take immediate steps to secure your account,” explains Grosse.

“Attackers often send links to fake sign-in pages to try to steal your password, so be careful about where you sign in to Google and look for https://accounts.google.com/ in your browser bar. These warnings are not being shown because Google’s internal systems have been compromised or because of a particular attack,” he said.

You can see what this new warning looks like in the picture below:

google now showing security warnings for suspected state-sponsored attacks

Here are some things you should do immediately: create a unique password that has a good mix of capital and lowercase letters, as well punctuation marks and numbers; enable 2-step verification as additional security; and update your browser, operating system, plugins, and document editors.

“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,” he concludes the post as saying.

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