Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

State-sponsored hackers targeting prominent journalists, Google warns

Recommended Posts

State-sponsored hackers targeting prominent journalists, Google warns

Google has warned a number of prominent journalists that state-sponsored hackers are attempting to steal their passwords and break into their inboxes.

Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine said he received several messages from Google warning him about an attack from a government-backed hacker starting shortly after the election. He said the most recent warning came two to three weeks ago.

Julia Ioffe, who recently started at The Atlantic and has covered Russia for years, said she got warnings as recently as two weeks ago.

Some journalists getting the warnings say they suspect the hackers could be Russians looking to find incriminating emails they could leak to embarrass journalists, either by revealing alleged liberal bias or to expose the sausage-making of D.C. journalism.

"The fact that all this started right after the election suggests to me that journalists are the next wave to be targeted by state-sponsored hackers in the way that Democrats were during it," said one journalist who got the warning. "I worry that the outcome is going to be the same: Someone, somewhere, is going to get hacked, and then the contents of their gmail will be weaponized against them — and by extension all media."
Chris Cuomo: CNN being called fake news is 'the equivalent of the N-Word'

The Russian embassy did not respond to a request for comment.

Google cautioned that the warnings did not mean the accounts had been compromised already and were sent due to "an abundance of caution."

“Since 2012, we’ve notified users when we believe their Google accounts are being targeted by government-backed attackers,” said a Google spokesperson in a statement. “We send these warnings out of an abundance of caution — they do not indicate that a user’s account has already been compromised or that a more widespread attack is occurring when they receive the notice.”

Ezra Klein, the founder of Vox, said he had received the warning as recently as a few days back. CNN senior media reporter Brian Stelter said he has been getting the alerts for the past few months.

Other journalists who confirmed they’ve recently gotten the warnings include New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger, Times columnist Paul Krugman and Yahoo Washington bureau chief Garance Franke-Ruta.

GQ special contributor Keith Olbermann said the warnings started a few weeks after the election, and he received the most recent alert earlier this week, a “big bright red bar” across the top of his Gmail. Some of the reporters say they are tightening up their email security to try to prevent the hackers from getting in.

Chait also said he was “contacted over email by a stranger who offered to help me by giving me an encryption key to protect me from hackers. He would not give me his name, meet me or talk on the phone, despite repeated requests.”

The stranger also emailed The Atlantic’s David Frum, James Fallows and Adam Serwer, Andrew Sullivan and Ars Technica’s Dan Goodin.

Stanford professor Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, said he also received hacking warnings from Google. He added: “Given my background, one would have to guess that it’s the Russians.”

  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this