Last week, Google began sending out warnings of state-sponsored cyberattacks to some Gmail users. Those who see the warnings are advised to change their passwords and enable enhanced security settings.
According to Cnet, affected Gmail users will see a message that reads: “Your account could be at risk of state-sponsored attacks.” It continues, “If you were directed to this page from a warning displayed above your Gmail inbox, we believe that state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer.”
Google’s Mike Wiacek told The New York Times that the company expects to send out “tens of thousands” of the warnings. According to The Time’s Nicole Perlroth, “Mr. Wiacek noted that Google had seen an increase in state-sponsored activity coming from the Middle East. He declined to call out particular countries, but he said the activity was coming from ‘a slew of different countries’ in the region.”
Google’s Eric Grosse informed TechCrunch, “our detailed analysis—as well as victim reports—strongly suggest the involvement of states or groups that are state-sponsored,” but he declined to explain why the company thinks the attacks are state-sponsored.
And eWeek’s Jeffrey Burt noted, “Google officials have outlined several steps users who get the warning message can take to protect themselves and their information, including creating a new unique password with a mix of lower-case and capital letters, punctuation and numbers.” He added, “In addition, users should use two-step verification, and update their browsers, operating systems, plug-ins and document editors, according to Google.”