Google kills Gmail spy campaign

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China suspected of targeting Asian nations.

Google has identified and disrupted a campaign operating out of eastern China meant to hijack and monitor the Gmail accounts belonging to hundreds of users, the technology giant revealed Wednesday.

Victims included US and Asian government officials - mostly from South Korea, military members, journalists and Chinese political activists, said Eric Grosse, engineering director of the Google's security team, in a blog post.

The campaign appears to trace back to Jinan, China and involves the theft of user's Gmail passwords, likely through phishing, he said. Google was able to disrupt the campaign, secure the affected accounts and notify the targeted individuals.

"The goal of this effort seems to have been to monitor the contents of these users' emails, with the perpetrators apparently using stolen passwords to change peoples' forwarding and delegation settings," Grosse wrote. "Google enables you to forward your emails automatically, as well as grant others access to your account."

This wasn't an attack on Google's network, as was the case last year, but instances of individual users being targeted, he stressed.

Google offers various security capabilities on Gmail, including two-factor authentication and suspicious activity detection, that users should consider, Grosse said.

This article originally appeared at scmagazineus.com

Copyright © SC Magazine, US edition


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