Some ABS-CBN employees get alert on 'government-backed' hack attempt

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2020 09:07 AM | Updated as of Feb 22 2020 12:44 PM

MANILA - Some ABS-CBN employees on Thursday reported receiving notifications on their browser that "government-backed attackers" may have attempted to compromise their Google accounts.

"There's a chance the alert is a false alarm. However, we believe we detected activities that government-backed attackers use to try to steal a password or other personal information," according to the warning.

The notification did not say which government is backing the alleged attack.

"The warning is a standard alert sent by Gmail, based on the activities that the system detects," Google said in its security alert. 

Users may have received emails containing harmful attachments, links to malicious software downloads or links to fake websites.

"We can’t reveal what tipped us off because the attackers will take note and change their tactics. If they're successful, they could access data or take other actions using the user's account," according to information on Google's Help Center page.

Google has been alerting users of government-backed hacking attempts since 2012 "out of an abundance of caution."

"The notice does not necessarily mean that the account has been compromised or that there is a widespread attack," the Help Center page added, saying it does not indicate who is responsible for the incident.

Manila Bulletin tech editor Art Samaniego​ said several "influencers" have also reported possible hacking attempts last week.

"They have noticed suspicious website traffic, but hackers were not targeting a specific group," he told ABS-CBN News.

By masking their location using a proxy server, hackers conduct "campaigns" to steal information for a profit, Samaniego said.

"Some sold the breached accounts while others do it to spread their cause," he said.

To reduce the risk from getting hacked, Samaniego urged the public to avoid oversharing personal information, create unique passwords and update software frequently.