Contributed by Michael Cost
Google has alerted quite a few users of its email service, including many prominent journalists, that their email accounts may be subject to a government-backed hack.
The alerts were sent directly to users from Google, itself, and explained that hackers were attempting to steal passwords and gain access to their inboxes, according to some of the journalists.
A few weeks after the election, Keith Olbermann, a GQ special contributor, claimed there was a “big red bar” across the top of his email inbox which alerted him. Other users who were alerted reported the same thing.
“The fact that all this started right after the election suggests to me that journalists are the next wave to be targeted by state-sponsored hackers in the way that Democrats were during [the election],” said one journalist. “I worry that the outcome is going to be the same. Someone, somewhere, is going to get hacked, and then the contents of their Gmail will be weaponized against them, and. by extension, all media.”
“Since 2012, we’ve notified users when we believe their Google accounts are being targeted by government-backed attackers,” said a Google spokesperson in a statement released to the public. “We send these warnings out of an abundance of caution, they do not indicate that a user’s account has already been compromised or that a more widespread attack is occurring when they receive the notice.”
The alert does not specify a particular country behind the attack. However, according to a report by Politico, some of the journalists who received the alert believe it to be Russia.
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