Feeds

Pre-election phishing spike blasts Iranian Gmail accounts

Google warns DigiNotar hackers are back on the scene

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.