Washington: Internet search giant Google has said "bad actors" from China, in a sophisticated phishing attack, hacked into hundreds of Gmail accounts, including those of senior US officials and Chinese political activists.
Google has uncovered a "phishing campaign," which "appears to originate from Jinan, China" in which access was gained to Gmail user passwords and emails, its Security Team's Engineering Director Eric Grosse said in a blog post.
"Through the strength of our cloud-based security and abuse detection systems, we recently uncovered a campaign to collect user passwords, likely through phishing," he said.
The "bad actors" hacked into personal Gmail accounts of hundreds of users including, senior US government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several
Asian countries (predominantly South Korea), military personnel and journalists, the US internet giant stated.
"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."
Grosse said: "We have notified victims and secured their accounts. In addition, we have notified relevant government authorities."
Officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Department of Homeland Security were working with Google on this issue. Pentagon spokesman Col Dave Lapan said at this point he is not aware if the targeted individuals are employees of the Department of Defence.
First Published: Thursday, June 02, 2011, 18:43