Google warns Myanmar reporters of 'state-sponsored' attack of Gmail accounts

A soldier from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) checks his phone as he rests in a shack at Mai Sak Pa of Laiza, Kachin state, January 29, 2013. Myanmar's government started talks with top commanders of the KIA rebel group in China on February 4, 2013 to try to rescue a faltering peace process and end one of the country's bloodiest ethnic conflicts. KIA is fighting for autonomy for Kachin state within a federal Myanmar, which successive governments of the ethnically diverse country have long rejected. Credit: Image credit: REUTERS/David Johnson

A number of reporters covering Myanmar were reportedly warned by Google

A number of journalists covering Myanmar were warned by Google that their Gmail accounts had been targeted by "state-sponsored" attackers.

Myat Thura, a reporter in Myanmar, for example, said he had been warned by Google of the attackers trying to get to his account, but added that his mail had not been hacked.

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"I can confirm that we send out these types of notices, but don't have any more info for you at this time," said Google spokesman Taj Meadows on Monday. He referred to a blog post from last June which said that Google was extending its warning of malicious activity to users to include information on state-sponsored attacks as well.

"If you see this warning it does not necessarily mean that your account has been hijacked," according to the blog post in June. "It just means that we believe you may be a target, of phishing or malware for example, and that you should take immediate steps to secure your account."

Eleven Media Group in Myanmar said that a number of journalists in Myanmar, including some of its its staff, have received warnings from Google that their email accounts may have been targets of "state-sponsored attacks."

It is not clear who the state-sponsored attacker could be. The journalists received the message "We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer", after they logged into their Gmail accounts, the news site said.

A number of countries including the U.S., India, and China are vying for a larger role in Myanmar, where the army is also seen to be resisting the country's move to democratize.

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