Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has announced that it will begin to warn its users if their country is the subject of a state sponsored cyber attack. The announcement comes in the wake of several dangerous and, most likely state sponsored, cyber attacks in the Middle East including the latest attacks by the Flame virus.
Users who Google believes are vulnerable to attack in a State sponsored attack will receive a message along the top of their browser that reads “Warning: We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or your computer.”
Google refused to comment on how they differentiated state sponsored attacks from day to day malware and likewise refused to comment on the source of the state sponsored attacks.
The entire internet has, since its burgeoning popularity in the 2000s, offered an alternative to the Early Warnings system that at one time was the only way to bring emergency information quickly to as many people as possible.
Social networking has allowed internet users to get information much more quickly and effectively, it also has the benefit of costing the government nothing. There is one advantage of the new standard in emergency notification.
Google’s release of the warning system may be less of a helpful feature and more of a political statement. Google seems familiar with the sources of the latest in state sponsored malware. The early warning system is a sign of their dissatisfaction with the cyber warfare that has been carried out as of late.
Users who get the warning are advised to update their protection and their passwords. They are also told to be careful about where they enter their passwords. It will not be long before those in charge of designing malware design a toolbar imitating Google’s for the unsuspecting to click on.
The advent of complicated and powerful state sponsored computer viruses has come though for now it appears only one side is really fighting in this way. All three of the complicated viruses, Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame, have a great deal in common.
Google is fully aware, as it is of everything, of the changes in the way the internet is being used to wage warfare. The company is trying to reduce the impact of those attacks and making a point about increasing awareness about the nation level exploitation of internet users for geopolitical gain.