Google says hackers attempted to steal Gmail user account passwords and aimed for government official email accounts in the US and Asia.
The malicious operation apparently originates in Jinan, China using a supposed phishing scam to acquire passwords and monitor email content from hacked accounts.
The search giant says it discovered and blocked the campaign, protected users’ accounts and alerted authorities.
Eric Grosse, Engineering Director on the Google Security Team, writes in a blog post, “We believe that being open about these security issues helps users better protect their information online.”
The effort against Gmail users occurs amid rising anxiety on network security incited by recent cyber-attacks against Lockheed Martin Corp. and Sony Corp.
Last year, Google announced attacks on its systems originating from China, which targeted human rights activists’ accounts.
Google said it will stop censoring search results in mainland China and redirected users there to its Hong Kong service.
This time around, Google’s internal systems were not touched, and the attempts did not have a security problem with Gmail, Grosse says.