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Over 1 million Google accounts reportedly hacked

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According to recent reports, cyber-hackers have had access to over one million Google accounts since August.

The cyber-hackers had unauthorised access to the accounts by installing malware software onto Android devices, therefore infecting Google accounts.

Very scary stuff!

Nature of the Google hack

Cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies reportedly found that cyber-hackers hacked into 1.3 million Google accounts (which includes emails, photos, and documents). Cybersecurity experts have called this hack the biggest theft in Google history.

In my view, this could potentially be the biggest cyber-hack in modern day given it’s Google!

What happened to Google’s iron steel security?

Google are known for their incredible security, so some may ask; how did this happen?

Malware is a general term for a range of techniques that cyber-hackers use to access personal data, and it can come under the general scope of viruses.

Malware can be installed onto the Android devices from users downloading and accessing other third party apps. Some other apps have well-known defects, particularly in older Android operating systems. This particular malware accessed the system without the consent of users and sent out malicious links via text messages, which reportedly caught users’ off-guard.

Android vulnerabilities

What makes Android devices more vulnerable to hacks?

The problem apparently comes from fragmentation. There has recently been a new software update for Android, but between the release of the new version and the older version, only 20 per cent of Android users were apparently running the current software. When you compare this to iPhone users, where 90 per cent of devices are running IOS 9 or 10 (the latest software), the vulnerability of Android devices is clear. It’s arguable that Android has a patchwork system, and until they implement a uniform system, they’ll continue to be at a potential security risk.

What users can do to protect themselves

Experts are advising users to update their Android software to version 6 or above. If you have an older version, a clean-sweep update is advisable. The latest Android version should be able to defend you from the malware which has already affected over a million accounts, according to cybersecurity experts.

So how can users protect themselves? My simple answer is to keep your software up-to-date. Software updates are important for operating systems as they can resolve security issues. Such updates are intended to shield users from unauthorised access to their devices.

Google and Android’s response

Android has recognised the issue and are partnering up with Google and Check Point to rectify the issue. So far, Google has blocked Android users from installing unverified apps outside of the official Google Play app store.

Google reports that this has blocked 150,000 versions of the malicious malware.

Continuing threat…

What’s commendable about the whole thing is that both companies have kept the users informed:

“…as always, we take these investigations very seriously and we wanted to share details about our findings and the actions we’ve taken so far.”

However their promise isn’t enough; effective responses are needed, as the cybersecurity company estimated that 13,000 devices continue to be breached per day!

Sources:

http://thetechangel.com/knowledge/questions-answers/why-are-updates-so-important-for-my-computer/

http://money.cnn.com/2016/11/30/technology/android-phones-infected/index.html

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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First published by Matthew on January 01, 2017
Posted in the following categories: Hacking News and tagged with


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