Published June 06, 2012
After scrutinizing internal data and analyzing victim reports, Google (GOOG) says it has started warning users that it believes may be the target of “state-sponsored attacks.”
The warning, which is featured with a pink background and black lettering at the top of the Gmail page, doesn’t necessarily mean a user’s account has been hijacked, but that Google believes it’s at risk of anything from phishing to malware.
“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,” Google said on its official security blog.
The fresh warning comes as LinkedIn (LNKD) officials probe a possible breach that may have led to the theft of millions of encrypted passwords.
Google urged users who see the warning to take “immediate steps to secure” the account, including creating a new password, enabling the 2-step verification and updating browsers, operating systems, plugins and document editors.
Google warned that attackers often send links to fake sign-in pages to try to steal passwords. A safe sign-in page will feature the official https://accounts.google.com/ link the in the browser bar.
The Silicon Valley tech giant said the warnings aren’t being shown because Google’s internal systems were compromised or because of any particular attack.
It would not disclose how it is sure the activity is state-sponsored, but said detailed analysis and victim reports “strongly suggest the involvement of states or groups that are state-sponsored.”