June 04 2020
Top US officials' gmail hit by Chinese phishing
01 June 2011

Google says hundreds of personal gmail accounts, including those of some senior US government officials and military personnel, were hacked as a result of a massive phishing originating from China.

The account hijackings were a result of stolen passwords, likely by malware installed on victims' computers or through victims' responses to e-mails from malicious hackers posing as trusted sources, or what is known as phishing.

Gmail's security systems themselves were not compromised, Google said.

The company believes the phishing attack emanated from Jinan, China. In addition to the US government personnel, other targets included South Korean government officials and federal workers of several other Asian countries, Chinese political activists, military personnel and journalists.

"The Department of Homeland Security is aware of Google's message to its customers," CNN quoted Chris Ortman, a spokesman for the agency as saying.

"We are working with Google and our federal partners to review the matter, offer analysis of any malicious activity, and develop solutions to mitigate further risk."

The news comes a little more than a year after a separate hack originating from China affected gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. In that case, attackers were able to break through Google's security systems, and two Gmail accounts were hacked.

CNN said a Google spokesman declined to comment on how the company obtained the information about the most recent hack.

Public information, user reports and a third-party hacking blog called Contagio was used to determine the scope, targets and source of the attack.



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