Google Vice President Security Eric Grosse has spoken out on the company blog, warning users to take immediate steps to protect their data.
He said “We are constantly on the lookout for malicious activity on our systems, in particular attempts by third parties to log into users’ accounts unauthorised…Today, we are taking that a step further for a subset of our users, who we believe may be the target of state-sponsored attacks.”
Many Gmail users will have noticed a warning displayed via their email client in a pink bar, which reads “We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer. Protect yourself now.”
Grosse added “When we have specific intelligence – either directly from users or from our own monitoring efforts – we show clear warning signs and put in place extra roadblocks to thwart these bad actors”.
The warning message may make some users panic however Google issued an emailed statement saying that the warning is meant to supplement the companies existing account security technologies and notifications. “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.”
No need to immediately panic “It just means that we believe you may be a target, of phishing or malware…and that you should take immediate steps to secure your account.”
The warning from Google hits after the high profile ‘Flame virus‘ attacks which have been targeting some organisations in the Middle East.
Grosse suggests that users need to create a unique password comprising a mixture of capital and lowercase letters, punctuation marks and numbers. Then also enable 2 step verification as additional security, update their browser code to the latest version (and stay updated).
Grosse said “Attackers often send links to fake sign-in pages to try to steal your password, so be careful about where you sign in to Google.”