Google detects phishing attacks in Iran ahead of elections

The company has seen a surge in phishing activity in the region

Google has detected large-scale phishing attacks targeting users in Iran, ahead of presidential elections in the country.

The company has detected and disrupted for almost three weeks email-based phishing campaigns that are aimed at compromising the accounts of tens of thousands of Iranian users, Eric Grosse, Google's vice president for security engineering wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

Phishing emails, claim to be from legitimate sources, and steal information often by directing users to a fraudulent website where they are required to fill in their personal or financial information.

Google has also reported a drop in connectivity to Gmail in the country ahead of the election on Friday. Iran, which has talked about launching a local "national Internet", has a history of blocking access to Internet services and websites considered offensive by the regime.

The timing and targeting of the current phishing campaigns suggest that the attacks are "politically motivated in connection with the Iranian presidential election, " Grosse wrote. The campaigns, which have their origin in Iran, represent a significant jump in the overall volume of phishing activity in the region, he added.

Unlike "man-in-the-middle" attacks on Gmail users in Iran two years ago, which used a rogue SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, the phishing technique this time is more routine, Grosse said. The group behind the attacks, however, appears to be the same.

Users receive an email with a link to a fraudulent web page that offers to provide a way to perform account maintenance. "If the user clicks the link, they see a fake Google sign-in page that will steal their username and password," he added.

"Protecting our users' accounts is one of our top priorities, so we notify targets of state-sponsored attacks and other suspicious activity, and we take other appropriate actions to limit the impact of these attacks on our users," Grosse wrote.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesGooglesecurityMailinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?