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Google Now Warns You Of Government Eavesdropping

Authored by: Steven Blum — Jun 6, 2012

Whether they're letting Iranian Internet-users know that their search results could get them into trouble or telling Chinese users in China when their searches might be censored, Google's been toeing the line pretty carefully between for-profit company and government watchdog. Now, the company has launched a new program that will notify users when their accounts have been compromised due to "state-sponsored attacks."

If your account has been threatened, a slim red warning will pop up at the top of your account which reads, "We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer. Protect yourself now." Clicking on a link will guide you  to a webpage which recommends creating stronger passwords ("with punctuation marks and numbers") and updating your software to the newest version. It should be clear, we're talking not only about hacks but also malware or phishing attacks.

As far as how Google determines when an account has been compromised, the company is frustratingly obtuse, saying "We can’t go into the details without giving away information that would be helpful to these bad actors." We wonder whether the company will tell users when their accountsby the FBI or if the warning system only applies to those living outside the country. Given that the "flame virus," created by the same entity as the Suxtnet virus, was just discovered to have been spying on computers in the Middle East for the last four years, we'd say a warning system against government phishing attacks is a welcome development indeed.

Source: New York Times

Steven Blum has written more than 2,000 blog posts as a founding member of AndroidPIT's English editorial team. A graduate of the University of Washington, Steven Blum also studied Journalism at George Washington University in Washington D.C. for two years. Since then, his writing has appeared in The Stranger, The Seattle P-I, Blackbook Magazine and Venture Villlage. He loves the HTC One and hopes the company behind it still exists in a few years.


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