Google Report: 80% of News Outlets Targeted by Governmental Spy Agencies
Major news organizations, including the British media outlet the Guardian are the target of state-sponsored hacking attacks, claim researchers.
Two Google security engineers released a report where they reveal some drastic statistics. Four fifths of the international top media outlets, including the Guardian, are the target of government-sponsored hacking attacks. The report was presented within the framework of Black Hat Asia 2014 conference in Singapore by two Google researchers, Shane Huntley and Morgan Marquis-Boire. Their research clearly shows that journalists are the top targets of the international spy agencies all over the world. While two Google representatives didn’t dwell into detail about how they made their conclusions, they also gave an interview to Reuters, stating their methodology “tracks the state actors that attack our users.”
Those who the Google suspects might have been the targets of such attacks see a large banner all across the top of their Gmail login page, the one displayed to the Guardian staffers since March:
Huntley said in his interview that “if you are a journalist or journalistic organization we will see state-sponsored targeting and we see it happening regardless of region, we see it from all over the world, both from where the targets are and where the targets are from.”
Both experts give some basic advice to those who suspect they might be targets of governmental surveillance, “be careful about where you sign in to Google, always use up-to-date software and enable two-step verification in Gmail.”
While the above mentioned advice is a lame consolation to journalists and anyone who might be a target of state surveillance, it is high time average users start shifting their online activity to the Deep Web, as opposed to the surface web.
Google did not share any details about what triggers specifically prompt the warning, explaining its necessity to avoid answering the sensitive questions to “defend the integrity of these systems.” Instead, Google explains you might have received emails that contain malicious attachments and links to malicious software downloads, or links to malicious websites designed to steal your personal information and passwords.
In April last year, the Guardian staffers became victims of a massive digital attack from the Syrian Electronic Army, when their Twitter accounts were taken over by a criminal group attempting at a phishing attack.