Google gives state-sponsored attacks warning

Internet giant has stepped up its surveillance efforts by now warning individuals whose Google e-mail accounts are suspected to be targeted by government or state-sponsored attackers.

Google now warns users if their account is suspected to be a target of state-sponsored attacks, but does not share in detail how it identifies such malicious activities.

In a blog post Tuesday, Eric Grosse, vice president of security engineering at Google, said: "We are constantly on the lookout for malicious activity on our systems, in particular attempts by third-parties to log into users' accounts unauthorized.

"When we have specific intelligence--either directly from users or from our own monitoring efforts--we show clear warning signs and put in place extra roadblocks to thwart these bad actors."

For example, a user whose account is suspected to be a target of such malicious attack will see a warning that says: "We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer."

Grosse noted that the warning is meant to alert the user that his account may be a target but does not mean it has been hijacked or that Google's internal systems have been compromised because of an attack.

The vice president did not elaborate on how the company knows the attacks may be state-sponsored. Instead, he shared that Google's detailed analyses and victim reports are able to strongly suggest the involvement of states or groups that are state-sponsored.

Last year, Google accused the Chinese government of disrupting its Gmail service. A spokesperson said the government obstruction was designed to look like a problem with its Web mail service.