Google Says Hackers in China Stole Gmail Passwords
SAN FRANCISCO — Google said Wednesday that hundreds of users of Gmail, its e-mail service, had been the targets of clandestine attacks apparently originating in China that were aimed at stealing their passwords and monitoring their e-mail.
In a blog post, the company said the victims included senior government officials in the United States, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries, military personnel and journalists.
It is the second time Google has pointed to China as the source of an Internet intrusion. Its latest announcement is likely to further ratchet up the tension between the company and Chinese authorities.
Last year, Google said it had traced a sophisticated invasion of its computer systems to people based in China. The accusation led to a rupture of the company’s relationship with China and a decision by Google not to cooperate with China’s censorship demands. As a result, Google decided to base its Chinese search engine in Hong Kong.
The more recent attacks were not as technically advanced, relying on a common technique known as phishing to trick users into handing over their passwords. But Google’s announcement was unusual in that it put a spotlight on the scale, apparent origins and carefully selected targets of a coordinated campaign to hijack e-mail accounts.
Yet another example of why people need to be more scrupulous about password usage. Never use the same password for everything. Never.