Feeds

Pre-election phishing spike blasts Iranian Gmail accounts

Google warns DigiNotar hackers are back on the scene

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Google has spotted a massive spike in what it believes to be politically-motivated phishing attacks originating from Iran and targeting tens of thousands of web users ahead of Friday’s presidential elections.

The Chocolate Factory has spotted several campaigns over the past three weeks, all coming from inside the Islamic Republic and aimed at compromising the accounts of Iranian netizens.

Google VP of security engineering, Eric Grosse, explained in a blog post that the “timing and targeting of the campaigns” pointed to some pre-election intelligence gathering on the part of the authorities.

He continued:

Our Chrome browser previously helped detect what appears to be the same group using SSL certificates to conduct attacks that targeted users within Iran. In this case, the phishing technique we detected is more routine: users receive an email containing a link to a web page that purports to provide a way to perform account maintenance. If the user clicks the link, they see a fake Google sign-in page that will steal their username and password.

The previous attack to which Grosse was referring came in 2011 when hackers compromised Dutch SSL certificate authority DigiNotar in a well-publicised attack thought to have been designed to snoop on private Gmail communications.

Grosse urged Gmail users in Iran to use a modern browser with better in-built protection against phishing as well as switching on two-factor authentication to minimise the risk of compromise.

He also warned users to check the URL of the log-in screen is https://accounts.google.com/ before typing in their Gmail password.

Internet users in the Islamic Republic are used to temporary outages of Gmail and other external comms services, especially in politically sensitive times such as before national elections.

In March it emerged that the authorities blocked the use of most virtual private networks (VPNs) in a bid to stop them circumventing web filters.

There have also been reports that the government is attempting to step up censorship by creating a kind of "walled garden" intranet cut off from the rest of the world. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.