Feeds

Recipe for a bad day: 'State-backed hackers are attacking your PC'

The chilling Google warning greeting journos in Burma

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Several Burmese journalists and foreign correspondents have been warned by Google that their Gmail accounts may have been compromised by “state-sponsored attackers”.

The writers, when logging into the webmail service, were confronted with a warning message stating “we believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer”, Hacker News reports.

Google introduced this form of alert in June to warn users if it suspected government-backed miscreants had tried to access their inboxes without authorisation.

"If you see this warning it does not necessarily mean that your account has been hijacked," Google explained at the time. "It just means that we believe you may be a target, of phishing or malware for example, and that you should take immediate steps to secure your account" - such as making use of Google's two-factor authentication system.

The advertising giant won't say what exactly triggers the state-sponsored hijacking alert, as opposed to attempts made by common-or-garden crooks, lest it helps "bad actors". However the search biz hinted that reports by victims and its own monitoring activities play a role. Google also refrains from revealing which nation may be behind an attack.

Aye Aye Win, a correspondent in Myanmar, Burma, for the Associated Press, and Myat Thura, a Myanmar correspondent for Japan's Kyodo News Agency, have both been confronted with warnings from Google about attempted compromises. Employees of Eleven Media, one of Burma’s leading news organisations, and local authors were also hit with alerts over the last few days, The New York Times reports.

Eleven Media’s website and Facebook page were shut down by hackers several times in recent weeks, the paper adds.

Internet traffic in and out of Burma has been tightly censored for many years. At one point the country even considering severing all links with the wider web, but in the interests of commerce the secretive nation scrapped that plan. In the two years since, President Thein Sein gained office and restrictions have been lifted - but true democracy may take longer to be established.

Reporters in Burma speculated that attempts by secret policemen or such types to hack into their Gmail accounts may be linked to articles about armed clashes between Kachin rebels and government forces in northern Myanmar; the fighting has put the country's rulers on edge and their officials have denied reports that the government attacked rebels using aircraft - until Eleven Media filed pictures of air-to-surface assaults. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.