Govt action against Google unlikely in phishing probe

This is owed to the fact that the attacks were reportedly a result of 'phishing' and not because of any wrong-doing on the part of Google

Representative image (Reuters photo)

The Indian government is unlikely to take action against Google after its announcement of 12000 users (including 500 Indians) being the targets of state-backed cyber-attacks worldwide, shortly after the Pegasus attack on Whatsapp. This is owed to the fact that the attacks were a result of 'phishing' and not because of any wrong-doing on the part of Google, according to a report by The Economic Times. 

However,  the report goes on to say that the government plans to issue a notice to Google demanding why they had not informed authorities about such an attack.

Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) Director, Shan Huntley, had said in a blog post dated November 26, "We’ve had a long-standing policy to send users warnings if we detect that they are the subject of state-sponsored phishing attempts, and have posted periodically about these before. From July to September 2019, we sent more than 12,000 warnings to users in 149 countries that they were targeted by government-backed attackers."

The post went on to say, "Over 90 percent of these users were targeted via 'credential phishing emails'... These are usually attempting to obtain the target’s password or other account credentials to hijack their accounts. We encourage high-risk users—like journalists, human rights activists, and political campaigns—to enroll in our Advanced Protection Program (APP), which utilizes hardware security keys and provides the strongest protections available against phishing and account hijackings. APP is designed specifically for the highest-risk accounts."

“The government wants to understand the extent of the impact in India, including the exact number of users impacted”, a source said to the publication. Whether the attacks were executed by governments on their own citizens or on those in other countries remains unspecified.


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