Google had warned at least 500 Indians about “government-backed” phishing attacks against them between July and September this year, the technology giant said in a blog. No names were given.
Google said in the blogpost that over 12,000 warnings were sent out to users across 149 countries. The post did not specify whether the users were being targeted by their own governments or others. The Google post also said that over 90% of these users were targeted via “credential phishing emails” where attempts are made to obtain the target’s password or other account credentials to hijack their account. The company pointed out that the high-risk users were journalists, human rights activists and political campaigns.
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh raised concerns on the issue in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. “Google has announced today that 500 Indians were targeted by ‘Govt. backed Attackers’. What is govt’s clarification?” he tweeted. Senior sources in government said that Google releases such reports every year. Persons, including activists, who feel at risk can register with Google and the firm analyses attacks.
“These are sometime state supported and other times con jobs. It has also been found that people are misled into sharing passwords by sites that look like Google but are not,” the official said. He added that countries mentioned in the context of state supported programmes are typically those like Iran, N Korea and China.
The blog says that Google had sent out over 12,000 warning to users globally. This is consistent with the number of warnings sent in the same period of 2018 and 2017, the firm added.
According to Google, these government-backed groups have many goals including “intelligence collection, stealing intellectual property, targeting dissidents and activists, destructive cyber attacks, or spreading coordinated disinformation.”.