The company said it plans to start alerting Gmail users when it learns they could be under attack from state-backed entities. The main goal of the move is to protect journalists, human rights campaigners and political activists across the world.
Writing in his blog, Google VP of security engineering Eric Grosse said the company is always on the lookout for malicious activity and attempts by third parties to log into users’ accounts.
“When we have specific intelligence – either directly from users or from our own monitoring efforts – we show clear warning signs and put in place extra roadblocks to thwart these bad actors,” he wrote. “Today, we’re taking that a step further for a subset of our users, who we believe may be the target of state-sponsored attacks.”
State sponsored attacks aimed at human rights campaigners and hacks have been reported across the world, with the finger often pointed at China, Russia, and Middle Eastern autocracies.