INTERNET GIANT Google has blamed the Chinese again for attacks on its popular email service Gmail that targeted the accounts of hundreds of users that its government might have had an interest in.
The firm said that a phishing campaign from Jinan in China targeted accounts belonging to Gmail users including US government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in other Asian countries, military personnel and journalists.
The phishing campaign went after user passwords, with the hackers looking to monitor the content of user emails as well as change people's forwarding and delegation settings. The attack didn't seem to be very sophisticated, relying on spear phishing techniques developed and honed by cyber criminals looking for financial information.
Google said it detected and disrupted the campaign, notified victims and informed the relevant government authorities. Although it has made no outright accusation of Chinese state involvement, the suggestion is definitely there due to the types of accounts targeted and the fact that Google was in talks with government officials.
In March, Google claimed that problems with Gmail at the time were the not due to technical issues but a disguised government blockage. Of course, China denied all of the claims.
Google said that the current problems have nothing to do with Gmail's internal security systems, but that it wanted to be open about the issues it is having to deal with. It said nothing however, about what kinds of safeguards it is putting in place to keep its Gmail users' information secure. µ
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