Google has disrupted what it believes to be a targeted phishing campaign aimed at stealing e-mail from government officials, contractors and military personnel.
The criminals behind the campaign have broken into hundreds of Gmail accounts belonging to “U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries (predominantly South Korea), military personnel and journalists,” among others, Google said in a blog post published Wednesday.
The company believes that the accounts were compromised “likely through phishing” by a cyber campaign run out of Jinan, China. That’s the city whose Lanxiang Vocational School was linked in a New York Times report last year to the December 2009 attacks on Google’s back-end systems. The targets of the 2009 campaign were human rights activists, and activists were also hit by this recent phishing campaign, Google said.
The phishing campaign was first publicly disclosed by the blog Contagio Malware Dump, which reported in February that government personnel and contractors were being hit with what are known as spear-phishing attacks. These attacks use specially crafted e-mail messages, written to appear like they come from someone known to the victim.