Back in 2013, the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad fired several scud missiles into civilian cities and populations, destroying towns, then a 16 year old named Dlshad Othman created an early warning system. His system used citizen reports of missile launches to calculate their destination and warn the people in harms way by text, tweets, and email.
Within just 24 hours, 16,000 plus people visited his website. Almost after that, the government found out and he became a target of government-backed attacks and hacking attempts on his personal email.
It’s rare, but take a moment of you thinking of someone attacking your accounts or online devices, what comes to mind? Most likely it’s the stereotype of a kid in a basement, or even a commercial spammer. Yet there is another type of attacker, though: professional attackers and hackers backed by different governments.
Google began in 2012 warning users when they suspect them of being targets of government-backed hacking and attacks. The notice looks like this:
Most likely, the chances of you seeing this warning is going to be never in your life time. For the people who do get to see it, which seems to be fewer than 0.1% of people, it can be very important for them to take notice. Journalists, activists, and policy makers — people even like Dlshad, people who are taking bold stances against corruption of governments tend to see this message when they are using google.
Google launched a new update that is a warning system for the targets of government backed attacks in March.
This new warning is very important because in addition to just informing users that a government-backed attack might be currently targeting them, it makes strong suggestions how to make their account more secure.
As we all know, warning people of potential attempts of governments trying to gain access to your online accounts won’t stop them. The one thing that it will do, and should make it extremely harder, is by following the suggestions that Google is offering.
I find it nice to see that Google has a small update that helps people with some risk to trying to stop corrupt governments from being corrupt. If this helps stop any attacks, by people activating 2 factor authentication, then there is at least one more person safe from the tyranny.