The internet firm reported it had noticed a “significant jump” in phishing activities over the last three weeks. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) suspects the attacks are “politically motivated”.
Google On How Phishing Attacks Work
The victims of the attacks received an email that contains a link to a page claiming to perform account maintenance. If a user clicks the link, then it takes the user to a fake Google sign-in page that could hack the user’s password and other details.
Eric Grosse, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s vice-president of security engineering, said that the attacks have their origin within Iran. “For almost three weeks, we have detected and disrupted multiple email-based phishing campaigns aimed at compromising the accounts owned by tens of thousands of Iranian users,” he said.
Grosse said the targets of the attacks reflect that the phishers are placed to disrupt Iranian presidential election on Friday.
In one recent case, users got a message from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s official-looking address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The message contains a note that a user should create an extra email address to facilitate quick recovery of passwords. The fake link that a user is asked to press also looks like an official Google site, but is not.
The attacks were uncovered by a phishing detection feature included in the Chrome web browser in 2012.
Mr. Grosse terms the attacks as “”state-sponsored” and cautioned citizens to remain alert.
The elections on Friday are the first since 2009, when the President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bagged the disputed second term. The controversial elections have been widely protested, with voters accusing Mr Ahmadinejad’s of using unfair means to win the election.
The majority of the six candidates who will be contesting the elections on Friday are conservatives close to Ayatollah Khamenei. The opposition claims that over 80 of its supporters have been killed within six months after the 2009 election. However, the ruling party completely negates the claims. Also, the opposition claims that many others have been jailed and sentenced to death.
Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, two of the reformist candidates from the 2009 election, remain under house arrest.