October 24, 2020

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Google warned users of 33,015 nation-state attacks since January

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Original Post from Security Affairs
Author: Pierluigi Paganini

Google delivered over 33,000 alerts to its users during the first three quarters of 2020 to warn them of attacks from nation-state actors.

Google delivered 33,015 alerts to its users during the first three quarters of 2020 to warn them of phishing attacks, launched by nation-state actors, targeting their accounts.

Google sent 11,856 government-backed phishing warnings during Q1 2020, 11,023 in Q2 2020, and 10,136 in Q3 2020.

Shane Huntley, Director at Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG), revealed that her team has shared its findings with the campaigns and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The IT giant pointed out that major events like elections and COVID-19 represent opportunities for threat actors.

The trend in the nation-state attacks is consistent with what others have subsequently reported.

Google TAG report nation-state actors

“Overall, we’ve seen increased attention on the threats posed by APTs in the context of the U.S. election. U.S government agencies have warned about different threat actors, and we’ve worked closely with those agencies and others in the tech industry to share leads and intelligence about what we’re seeing across the ecosystem.” reads the report published by Google TAG.

Since last summer, TAG team has tracked a large spam network linked to China that is running an influence operation on multiple platforms, primarily on YouTube. The threat actor behind this campaign was primarily acquiring or hijacking existing accounts and using them to spread content crafted for their intent.

According to Google, the alerts are shown to up to 0.1% of all Gmail accounts. The company’s alert advises Gmail users to take several measures to secure their accounts, such as enrolling in the Advanced Protection Program, keeping software up to date, enabling Gmail 2-step verification, as well as using Google Authenticator and/or a physical security key for 2-step verification.

As the course of the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, Google experts warn of threat actors evolving their tactics as well. During the last summer, Google observed threat actors from China, Russia, and Iran targeting pharmaceutical companies and researchers involved in the development of a vaccine. 

In September, Google experts started to observe attacks carried out by multiple North Korea-linked APT groups aimed at COVID-19 researchers and pharmaceutical companies, especially those based in South Korea.

This week, the Google Cloud team revealed that in September 2017 it has mitigated DDoS attack that reached 2.54 Tbps, the largest DDoS attack of ever.

This attack is the largest DDoS attack recorded to date and according to a report published by the Google Threat Threat Analysis Group (TAG) it was carried out by a state-sponsored threat actor.


Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Google TAG)

The post Google warned users of 33,015 nation-state attacks since January appeared first on Security Affairs.


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Author: Pierluigi Paganini

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