Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) intensified its warning to Google users that their e-mail accounts or computers may be compromised by cyber attacks, after the company discovered an increase in cyber activity from the Middle East, according to a report from the New York Times.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Manager on Information Security, Mike Wiacek, told the New York Times that the company started sending warnings last Tuesday to tens of thousands of new users, that their accounts may have been compromised by state-sponsored attacks.
According to Wiacek, Google gathered new information about the groups responsible in launching the cyber attacks. He did not identify the name of the specific countries where the cyber attackers are located, but he said the attacks originate from “a slew of different countries” in the Middle East.
Last June, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) started sending warnings to users regarding the state-sponsored cyber attacks, amid the dangers of possible state-sponsored cyber attacks in the Middle East, such as the Flame virus. Google users received a warning in their browser that reads, “Warning: We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer.”
The New York Times report cited that several American journalist and diplomats noticed the warnings on Tuesday afternoon. Some of the individuals who tweeted that they received a warning from Google were Noah Schactman, editor of Wired, a national security blog; Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, senior fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Joshua Foust, a fellow at American Security Project, a nonprofit research organization.
Wiacek advised users who received warnings from Google to take necessary actions to protect themselves, such as changing e-mails and passwords, run their computer software updates, and enable Google’s two-step authentication service.
In July, Iran threatened to launch “teeth breaking” cyber attacks against the United States, in response to reports that the Obama administration was behind the attacks on Iranian computers, used for nuclear enrichment using the computer worm “Stuxnet.” The computer worm was developed during the Bush administration.
There is a possibility that Iran is one of the countries in the Middle East launching the cyber attacks against Google users in the United States. Iran previously reported that it created its own cyber-force to counter-attack its enemies in cyber space.
Last week, hackers who claimed to have ties in the Middle East, launched a denial-of-service attacks on the websites of several American Banks, including Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), JP Morgan Chase & Company (NYSE:JPM), PNC Financial Services (NYSE:PNC), and U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB).
George Kurtz, president of CrowdStrike, a security company, told the New York Times that he noticed high cyber activities from the Middle East, particularly in Iran. He said, “Iran has been increasingly active as they build up their cyber capabilities.”