Many of you probably read the stories last week that Google will now be alerting users when it thinks they’re a target of a potential state-sponsored cyberattack.   When I read the first stories, I thought that everyone could be getting the Google alert — that message will read “Warning: we believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer.  Protect yourself now.”

You’d then need to read the post by Eric Grosse, Google’s VP of Security Engineering,( to find out how to protect yourself.

I read more stories as well as the Google blog since: 1) this is a scary story; and 2) I wanted to learn about the needed protections.

After doing so, I can say this is still scary but we’re all NOT going to be getting the Google alert on our respective computers.  The attackers are apparently only going after a subset of Google users.  Who are they? People with “high value” information.  They, unfortunately,  will be the people who will be targeted for “spear phishing” or other deceptive messages.  The attackers are hoping to trick the targeted individuals into providing their user names and passwords.

What’s Google’s advice if you are and if the “alert” pops up?  It’s very basic:

  1. Change to a strong password;
  2. Use Google’s 2-step verification; and
  3. Update your browser.

This is a case when all of us will hope we’re not “high value individuals.”