Google Thwarts Iranian Phishing Attacks Before Election
Google announced on Thursday that it had detected and thwarted thousands phishing attacks that had been aimed at the email accounts of Iranian users ahead of that country's June 14th presidential election.
According to an online statement, Google said it had found a "significant jump" in Iran's overall volume of phishing activity in the past few weeks. With the election only a day away, the search engine giant felt that the attacks were "politically motivated".
Friday's election is Iran's first since reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009-an event that caused an immense amount of controversy within Iran. Many who were opposed to Ahmadinejad's reelection staged angry protests, with voters accusing Ahmadinejad's camp of falsifying the election to ensure his return to power.
Google's vice-president of security engineering, Eric Grosse, reportedly said that the origin of the phishing attacks came from within Iran. Phishing attempts are hacking attacks that try to steal passwords and other private computing information by directing users to fake websites. Mr. Grosse said those who had been targeted by the phishing attacks had received an email containing a link to a web page that supposedly would have performed account maintenance.
"For almost three weeks, we have detected and disrupted multiple email-based phishing campaigns aimed at compromising the accounts owned by tens of thousands of Iranian users," Grosse reportedly said. "The timing and targeting of the campaigns suggest that the attacks are politically motivated in connection with the Iranian presidential election on Friday."
The phishing attacks were detected by a feature added to Google's Chrome web browser in 2012.