Google warns Gmail users on spying attempts from China

Recently, a number of users have been witnessing a glaring red banner popping up when they accessed their Gmail account, saying “Warning: We believe your account was recently accessed from: China (IP ADDRESS)“.

ThreatPost reports that among the seemingly random victims – gamers, doctors, media consultants – was also one Alexander Hanff of Privacy International in the UK.

Even though his Gmail account is wholly unconnected with his work for the human rights organization, he says that it is possible that he was targeted because of a EU-China Human Rights Network seminar during which he discussed freedom of speech issues and differences between the EU and China on that account.

All users who have been similarly warned are advised by Google to change their passwords. Technolog asked Google to comment on the occurrence, and they said that the banner is simply part of the security feature introduced in March.

“To determine when to display this message, our automated system matches the relevant IP address, logged per the Gmail privacy policy, to a broad geographical location. While we don’t have the capability to determine the specific location from which an account is accessed, a login appearing to come from one country and occurring a few hours after a login from another country may trigger an alert,” they commented.