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June 2, 2011

Gmail Confirms " Email Accounts in US, Asia Hacked

Hackers around the world are gaining more attention than usual in the last few months. Now Google has added another announcement to the pile that hundreds of Gmail accounts have been hacked recently.

According to reports ,Google affirms that the problem doesn’t rest with Gmail security but rather this scheme was a result of phishing and malware.The world's largest Internet company said on its official blog that the hackers, who appeared to originate from Jinan, China, recently tried to crack and monitor email accounts by stealing passwords, but Google detected and "disrupted" the campaign.

The attacks were the latest computer-based invasions directed at western companies and come a year after Internet giant Google and numerous companies were targeted by hackers traced to China.

That previous incident triggered a highly-charged debate over the country's censorship and rigid control of the Internet. Google eventually all but pulled out of China, despite the market's massive growth opportunity.

While Google said last year's attack was aimed at its "corporate infrastructure," the latest incident appears to have relied on tricking email users into revealing passwords, based on Google's description in its blog post.

Google spilled the details on Wednesday via its official blog:
Through the strength of our cloud-based security and abuse detection systems*, we recently uncovered a campaign to collect user passwords, likely through phishing. This campaign, which appears to originate from Jinan, China, affected what seem to be the personal Gmail accounts of hundreds of users including, among others, senior U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries (predominantly South Korea), military personnel and journalists.


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.
Google recommended the following:
  • Use two-factor authentication;
  • Choose a strong password;
  • Watch for suspicious activity warnings in your Gmail account;
  • Check your settings for odd forwarding.
Google gave a hat tip to the blog Contagio, which highlighted the risks in February.
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