Malicious activity on the web is on the rise and particular attempts by third parties to log into users’ accounts unauthorized have increased. Google today, having specific intelligence—either directly from users or from its users monitoring efforts—is now showing clear warning signs and put in place extra roadblocks to thwart these bad actors.
Today, Google’s subset of users, which Google believes may be the target of state-sponsored attacks will be shown the screen as below:
If you see this warning it does not necessarily mean that your account has been hijacked. It just means that Google believes you may be a target, of phishing or malware for example, and that you should take immediate steps to secure your account.
Here are some things you should do immediately: create a unique password that has a good mix of capital and lowercase letters, as well punctuation marks and numbers; enable 2-step verification as additional security; and update your browser, operating system, plugins, and document editors. 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 and look for https://accounts.google.com/ in your browser bar.
These warnings are not being shown because Google’s internal systems have been compromised or because of a particular attack. You might ask how Google knows this activity is state-sponsored. Google can’t go into the details without giving away information that would be helpful to these bad actors, but Google’s detailed analysis—as well as victim reports—strongly suggest the involvement of states or groups that are state-sponsored.
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