Here’s the question Google wants you asking — who do you trust more: them, or the Chinese government’s prying eyes?
The tech giant announced on Wednesday that it would issue a security warning when it suspects users are the targets of state-sponsored cyber-attacks.
“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,” writes Eric Grosse, a vice president in security engineering, in Google’s Online Security Blog.
A security warning would appear at the top of the page that says, “Warning: We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer,” and prompt the user to take the necessary precautions.
Grosse clarifies that this warning “does not necessarily mean your account has been hijacked”, but it might be an extremely good idea to do something about it, immediately, by changing your password, enabling 2-step verification, and having a heightened awareness for phishing attempts.
Though Grosse’s post makes no mention of specific governments it would be protecting users from, it is likely these policies will resonate strongly in countries such as China, where the government carefully monitors and censors seditious content. This latest announcement is part of Google’s ongoing effort to protect users from malicious governmental actors — and, as it ruthlessly competes with Facebook and Apple for market share, a conveniently-timed reminder that its motto is “Don’t Be Evil.”