Google has unveiled a new warning system that can alert users if their account is compromised by a state-sponsored attack.
Once warned, users will have the ability to lock down their account and prevent any further access by their attacker. The new warning comes following the data breaches of U.S. officials' Gmail accounts last year.
"We are constantly on the lookout for malicious activity on our systems, in particular attempts by third parties to log into users' accounts unauthorized," Google Vice President of Security Engineering Eric Grosse wrote in a blog post. "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."
When an attack is identified users will be warned with a red banner above the Google search bar that reads: "Warning: we believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer."
Once the warning is received users will have the opportunity to lock down their account and prevent remote access.
Google is being purposefully vague on how they would know if a hack is being perpetuated by a state-sponsored actor. Grosse points out that to give away such information would make it easier for hackers to find workarounds.
State-sponsored attacks have dominated headlines in recent weeks. Outbreaks such as the Flame malware and the recent revelations about Stuxnet have raised public-consciousness over government-backed breaches.
Last year, Google warned users to check their account settings after discovering a breach that allowed third parties to gain access to the personal Gmail accounts of senior U.S. government officials.