Nobody welcomes the prospect of having our online accounts hacked. It’s a pain in the neck resetting passwords, warning your contacts, and worrying about the prospect that your identity may be stolen.

But for some of us, the consequences of having our Gmail account compromised by state-sponsored hackers could be even more catastrophic and even life-threatening.

If keeping your account secure is that important and a much higher priority than just convenience, then you will no doubt welcome Google’s announcement this week that it is now offering an additional tier of security for its users – more secure than ever before.

Google’s announcement makes clear who “Advanced Protection” is aimed at:

“…there is an overlooked minority of our users that are at particularly high risk of targeted online attacks. For example, these might be campaign staffers preparing for an upcoming election, journalists who need to protect the confidentiality of their sources, or people in abusive relationships seeking safety. Sometimes even the most careful and security-minded users are successfully attacked through phishing scams, especially if those phishing scams were individually targeted at the user in question.”

Political campaigners? Why, yes. Who can forget that in 2016, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign manager John Podesta had his Gmail account compromised through an unsophisticated phishing email.

If John Podesta had had a better secured account, it wouldn’t have mattered that he entered his password on a bogus login page. And his entire email archive wouldn’t have fallen into the hands of Russian hackers, who passed it onto WikiLeaks and who then made it available for anyone to scour through online.

And whether you agree that that hack influenced the U.S. presidential election or not, there is no doubt that it was a distraction for the Clinton campaign and hardly what they wanted (Read more...)