Cyber attacks that originated from China have broke into the Gmail accounts of several hundred people, including those of high-level individuals, US and Asian government officials, Chinese political activists, journalists and military personnel, Google said yesterday.
The cyber attacks seem to have originated in Jinan, China, probably for collecting user passwords, through phishing, with the aim of monitoring e-mail content, Eric Grosse, engineering director on the Google Security Team, said in a blog post today.
"The goal of this effort seems to have been to monitor the contents of these users' emails, with the perpetrators apparently using stolen passwords to change peoples' forwarding and delegation settings," he added.
Eric said most hackers steal identities, acquire financial data or send spam, but this cyber attack was targeted at specific individuals.
Google gave credit to its own security system for detecting these attacks and said that it has notified victims and secured their accounts. It has also passed on the information to relevant government authorities.
Google did not say whether the cyber attack was the work of individuals or sponsored by the government, nor did it say how it traced the attacks to Jinan - the People's Liberation Army's technical reconnaissance bureaus are located in the city of Jinan.