Google shares how it prevents your account from getting hacked
Google’ Threat Analysis Group (TAG) has given some fresh information and stats on what it is doing to safeguarding end users from phishing scams and zero-day vulnerabilities. The team states that last year it sent almost 40,000 warnings to people, making them aware that their accounts are possible targets of government-backed phishing or malware attempts. However, this was a 25% decline from 2018. As per Google, the reason for decline is that its new protections are working.
As per the metric shared by the company, India was among those countries that was targeted the most by government-backed phishing scams last year. Other countries included the US, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Phishing trend in 2020
The security engineer at Google’s Threat Analysis Group, Toni Gidwani added that this year they’ve seen ‘rising number of attackers’ coming from North Korea and Iran. These usually impersonate news outlets and journalists so they can seed false stories on the web creating disturbance between countries and communities.
In some cases, these attackers will send emails to build a rapport with the journalist and foreign policy experts before sending an attachment with a malicious link. “Government-backed attackers regularly target foreign policy experts for their research, access to the organizations they work with, and connection to fellow researchers or policymakers for subsequent attacks,” says Gidwani.
Heavily targeted sectors are also in the list
The hackers are said to attack government rivals, government officials, dissidents and activists as well. The company even shared Russian threat actor group SANDWORM’s targeting efforts (by sector) over the last three years.
Government-based attackers don’t give up
As per the team’s findings, the attackers target an account multiple times before giving up. “If at first the attacker does not succeed, they’ll try again using a different lure, different account, or trying to compromise an associate of their target,” says Gidwani.
And all this comes in addition to finding zero-day vulnerabilities. As mentioned by the team, last year TAG discovered zero-day vulnerabilities affecting Android, Chrome, iOS, Internet Explorer and Windows. In January this year, the team found a zero-day vulnerability in the Internet Explorer browser. “The majority of targets we observed were from North Korea or individuals who worked on North Korea-related issues,” added Gidwani.