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Google has a new service that automatically displays a warning to users who may be the target of state-sponsored phishing or malware attacks.

While they aren’t saying how they go about determining when a particular attack is a government-focused attack, Google did say the company relies on “detailed analysis” and victim reports that “strongly suggest the involvement of states or groups that are state-sponsored.”

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The warning comes in the form of a red banner just above the Google search bar that reads: “Warning: we believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer.” It includes a link to information users can use to help lock down their computers, smartphones and Google accounts.

The warnings are rolling out after Google users suffered hits from high-profile attacks that show evidence of coming from governments in China and Iran.

Cyber Security

In early 2010, for instance, the Web giant said it was the victim of a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack” originating in China and stole information about human rights activists who used the company’s Gmail service. Last June, Google detected a targeted campaign to collect hundreds of personal Gmail passwords belonging to senior U.S. government officials. And in August, officials found a fraudulent secure sockets layer certificate for the Google domain. Later analysis found it was able to spy on more than 300,000 users, most of whom were in Iran.

“We believe it is our duty to be proactive in notifying users about attacks or potential attacks so that they can take action to protect their information,” said Google Vice President of Security Engineering Eric Grosse. “And we will continue to update these notifications based on the latest information.”

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