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Google Cautions That Government-Backed Hackers May Be Targeting Journalists

By Andy Franco , Feb 11, 2017 12:12 PM EST
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Google has notified that some prominent journalists and their email accounts might be the subject of attacks from hackers who are supported by the government. The notification will say, "Warning: Google may have detected government-backed attackers trying to steal your password."

"Since 2012, we've notified users when we believe their Google accounts are being targeted by government-backed attackers," said Google spokesperson to Politico. However, the warnings may not necessarily indicate that someone else has already accessed the account. This was Google's way to ensure caution.

Keith Olbermann, a Liberal commentator, apparently got the alert about the potential hacks from Google. According to New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait, after the election period he also got a few messages from Google warning him about an attack from a government-backed hacker. Cait says the latest warning was sent two to three weeks ago.

Julia Ioffe, a recent writer at The Atlantic, uploaded a Twitter photo that showed the Google warning. She received the notification some time in January. Other people who said they received the warning include Vox founder Ezra Klein, CNN senior reporter Brian Stelter, Times columnist Paul Krugman, New York Times correspondent David Sanger and Yahoo Washington bureau chief, Garance Franke-Ruta.

As reported, Russian hackers are being suspected by a handful of journalists who received such notifications. The Russian embassy has not yet provided a reply to this suggestion.

"The fact that all this started right after the election suggests to me that journalists are the next wave to be targeted by state-sponsored hackers in the way that Democrats were during it," remarks a journalist who managed to get a notification. The journalist also worries that the outcome would end up being the same. That is, anyone is going to be hacked. The contents of emails can be used against them and all media.

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