It's certainly more alarming than your average PC warning message - 'We believe state-sponsored attackers are attempting to compromise your account.'
Google unveiled the 'last line of defence' for users it believes may be under attack from foreign spies this week - and it seems the search giant will 'defend' customers against spies from any country.
The warning will pop up in Gmail accounts Google believes to be under attack. Google remains coy about how big a threat state-sponsored hackers - spies - actually are, but the threat is widespread enough for Google to build defences into Gmail.
The warning will appear in the accounts of users Google believes to have been the targets of foreign spies - although the firm will not reveal HOW it knows
Google has built warnings about cyber attacks by foreign agents into its popular Gmail webmail service
The warning will pop up if Google believes an account may have been targeted by state hackers - although the firm refuses to reveal exactly how it knows.
'We are constantly on the lookout for malicious activity on our systems, in particular attempts by third parties to log into users’ accounts,' said Google in a blog post this week.
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'When we have specific intelligence—either directly from users or from our own monitoring efforts—we show clear warning signs. Today, we’re taking that a step further for a subset of our users, who we believe may be the target of state-sponsored attacks.'
The move comes in the wake of several high-profile cyber attacks originating in China which targeted U.S and other government officials.
The Chinese government has always denied that it is involved in cyber crime, claiming that it is a victim
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Last year, hackers based in Jinan, China targeted personal Gmail and Yahoo accounts of government officials.
The methods used suggested insider knowledge about the offiicals according to many observers.
The Chinese government denied any involvement.
'Blaming these misdeeds on China is unacceptable,' said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei after the attacks.
'Hacking is an international problem and China is also a victim. The claims of so-called support for hacking are completely unfounded.'
Google says, 'If you see this warning it does not necessarily mean that your account has been hijacked. It just means that we believe you may be a target, of phishing or malware for example, and that you should take immediate steps to secure your account.'
'You might ask how we know this activity is state-sponsored. We can’t go into the details without giving away information that would be helpful to these bad actors, but our detailed analysis—as well as victim reports—strongly suggest the involvement of states or groups that are state-sponsored.'
'We believe it is our duty to be proactive in notifying users about attacks or potential attacks so that they can take action to protect their information. And we will continue to update these notifications based on the latest information.'
China is widely suspected of being the origin of many hacking attacks on government and commercial websites abroad, but officials have repeatedly dismissed reports that the government or military could be behind such attacks.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2155220/Google-warn-Gmail-users-firm-suspects-spies-hacking-email.html#ixzz1x1L4bqnC