Over the past three months, Google has sent out over 12,000 “governmental” attack alerts

Google has revealed statistics about how often it has to warn users about “governmental attacks.” Over the past three months, Google has sent out over 12,000 such alerts.

Most alerts were sent to users from the United States, South Korea, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) works to counter targeted and government-backed hacking against Google and our users. This is an area we have invested in deeply for over a decade. Our daily work involves detecting and defeating threats, and warning targeted users and customers about the world’s most sophisticated adversaries, spanning the full range of Google products including Gmail, Drive and YouTube”, — says company’s representatives.

Currently, Google is tracking over 270 government-backed hackers from more than 50 countries that collect intelligence, steal intellectual property, cyberattacks, attack dissidents, journalists and activists, or are engaged in coordinated dissemination of misinformation.

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So, in the last three months alone, from July to September 2019, Google sent more than 12,000 alerts to users in 149 countries around the world, notifying them of email attacks by “governmental” hacking groups.

“We encourage high-risk users—like journalists, human rights activists, and political campaigners—to enroll in our Advanced Protection Program (APP), which utilizes hardware security keys and provides the strongest protections available against phishing and account hijackings. APP is designed specifically for the highest-risk accounts”, — say in Google.

Representatives of the company say that these statistics for three months vary by 10% of the number of alerts sent for the same period of 2018 and 2017.

Recall that Google became the first major mail provider to start displaying such warnings to its users in 2012. The talk is about simple alerts to Gmail users: the company warns when it detects that the user has been sent malicious emails related to the activities of “governmental” hackers. Such messages may contain links to download malvari, malicious file attachments, or links to phishing sites.

Sample of the Warning
Sample of the Warning

Currently, almost all major mail providers, including Microsoft and Yahoo, show similar notifications to their customers. Google, in its turn, last year expanded this functionality to users of G Sute.

Interestingly, Google does not send such warnings when users are under attack, but it accumulates messages and then sends them in batches to hundreds of accounts simultaneously. This helps the company to confuse criminals so that they cannot find out which of their tactics works best and adjust their attacks in real time.
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About Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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