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Google spots Iranian phishing spike

Questions links to elections
Thu Jun 13 2013, 12:47
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INTERNET SEARCH FIRM Google has detected a spike of phishing attacks in Iran.

The firm said that the phishing spike has come in the runup to an election in the country and speculated as to the possible motive.

According to a blog post there has been a marked increase in attacks targeting users in Iran in the last few weeks.

"For almost three weeks, we have detected and disrupted multiple email-based phishing campaigns aimed at compromising the accounts owned by tens of thousands of Iranian users. These campaigns, which originate from within Iran, represent a significant jump in the overall volume of phishing activity in the region," said the post by Google VP of Security Engineering Eric Grosse.

"The timing and targeting of the campaigns suggest that the attacks are politically motivated in connection with the Iranian presidential election on Friday."

Grosse said that emails claiming to be from the firm were being sent to Google users in Iran. A link in the email that supposedly lead to an account administration page instead took unwary users to a username and password stealing fake sign-in page.

"if you are in Iran, we encourage you to take extra steps to protect your account," added Grosse.

"Watching out for phishing, using a modern browser like Chrome and enabling 2-step verification can make you significantly more secure against these and many other types of attacks."

The phishing attacks were spotted through a Safe Browsing feature of Google's Chrome web browser, and Google suspects that this is not the first time it has come across the culprits. Recommendations to shore up Iranian user accounts date back to 2011. µ


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