Google warns of increasing phishing and malware attacks

Google has raised concerns about increased activity by hackers sponsored by countries such as Russia and Iran. Through its Threat Analysis Group (TAG), the Mountain View company warned that so far in 2021 the number of alerts has grown significantly sent by malware or phishing attacks.

Through the TAG blog, the Californian firm confirmed that this year they have already sent more than 50 thousand warnings. This is a 33% increase compared to the same period in 2020. According to Google, this increase is based on efforts to block an “unusually large” malicious campaign by the Russian group known as APT28.

The Google Threat Analysis Group indicates the variety in the methods used by hackers apparently financed by national governments. For example, the report explains some campaigns of the Iranian group APT35 who were detected and detained.

These ranged from adulterated websites to steal sensitive information, to the use of a malicious Android app posing as a VPN. The implementation of email chains for phishing is also mentioned, and even a Telegram bot to receive notifications when infected pages load.

“On any given day, TAG tracks more than 270 groups of attackers led or backed by governments from more than 50 countries. This means that, generally, there is more than one threat actor behind the warnings,” they say in the Google post.

Google, and a growing concern about malware and phishing attacks

Phishing warning by Christiaan Colen, licensed under CC BY SA 2.0

In relation to the alerts that users receive, Google explains that it must take measures so that its defense strategies are not discovered. For that reason send notices in batches to people who may be at risk, and not when it detects the threat itself.

“Thousands of these warnings are sent every month, even in cases where the corresponding attack is blocked. If you receive an alert, it does not mean that your account has been compromised, but that you have been identified as a target,” they say.

Despite TAG’s best efforts, malware or phishing attacks are increasingly complex. Recall that in May a new malicious software was identified that masquerades as ransomware and distracts users while stealing sensitive information from infected PCs. And even Google ads are used to distribute computer threats.

A key tool to avoid being a victim of hackers is use double verification Steps. This extra layer of security is already implemented in a large number of services, and has even become the default option on platforms with millions of users around the world, such as Google accounts.