Entries in Warning (7)


Google to Warn Users of Possible State-Sponsored Cyber Attacks

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Google has posted a note on its security blog informing users that there will now be a banner warning you if Google believes that a state-sponsored cyber attacker is trying to compromise your account or computer.

Eric Grosse, Google’s vice president of security engineering, wrote on, “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.”

The warning seen below will state: “Warning: We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer. Protect yourself now.”

“If you see this warning it does not necessarily mean that your account has been hijacked. It just means that we believe you may be a target, of phishing or malware for example, and that you should take immediate steps to secure your account,” Grosse wrote in the blog posting.

The unusual security notice by Google may make users wonder how Google knows their accounts are potentially being probed.

“You might ask how we know this activity is state-sponsored. We can’t go into the details without giving away information that would be helpful to these bad actors, but our detailed analysis -- as well as victim reports -- strongly suggest the involvement of states or groups that are state-sponsored,” Grosse said in the blog posting.

In 2009 China tried to gain access to the Gmail accounts of dozens of Chinese dissidents and human rights activists.  It was part of a larger state-sponsored cyber attack targeting as many as 30 U.S. companies including Yahoo!, Adobe, Rackspace and Northrop Grumman. U.S. officials believe China was attempting to gain access to these firms’ networks to obtain intellectual property and source code information. Google disclosed the attack in January 2010.

Google, in its posting, advises users to have strong, unique passwords, update their Internet browsers and software, and avoid clicking on attachments that could contain malware.  Google says the banner may stay up on a user’s page for several days to remind users to take the necessary security steps.

“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. And we will continue to update these notifications based on the latest information,” Grosse wrote in the blog posting.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FBI Warns of Homegrown Violence After Afghan Massacre

Mamoon Durrani/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Federal authorities have issued a warning there could be "acts of violence" in the United States sparked by the recent massacre of 16 civilians in Afghanistan allegedly by an American soldier.

"The FBI and DHS [Department of Homeland Security] are concerned that this event could contribute to the radicalization or mobilization of homegrown violent extremists [HVEs] in the homeland, particularly against U.S.-based military targets which HVEs have historically considered legitimate targets for retaliation in response to past alleged U.S. military actions against civilians overseas," the FBI and DHS said in a joint "awareness bulletin" to law enforcement agencies on Wednesday.

The bulletin noted that there is no specific threat at this time and said it is "unlikely" the recent killings and other "high-profile perceived offenses against Islam" would motivate any homeland extremist to violent action.  "However," the bulletin says, "[the killings] will likely be incorporated into violent extremist propaganda and could contribute to an individual's radicalization to violence."

High level federal officials have repeatedly warned that one of the greatest threats facing the American homeland comes from self-radicalized, homegrown terrorists who may be inspired by -- but have little to no contact with -- major terrorist groups.

In December, a Congressional report released by the staff of Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said such homegrown terrorists were a "severe and emerging threat" to the U.S. military at home and said military communities in the U.S. "have recently become the most sought-after targets of violent Islamist extremists seeking to kill Americans in their homeland."

Tensions at home and abroad have been strained since an American soldier was accused of systematically murdering 16 Afghan civilians -- mostly women and children -- in the middle of the night Sunday, apparently in an unprovoked attack in Kandahar.

The soldier, identified only as a staff sergeant hailing from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, surrendered when he returned to his base in Afghanistan and has since been moved to Kuwait.

The killings have sparked several heated protests in Afghanistan during which Afghans burned an effigy of President Obama as well as the cross.

Speaking of the alleged killing spree, Obama said Tuesday, "The United States takes this as seriously as if it were our own citizens and our own children who were murdered."

"The killing of innocent civilians is outrageous and it's unacceptable. It's not who we are as a country and it does not represent our military," he said. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Terror Warning System Being Unveiled Wednesday

Department of Homeland Security(WASHINGTON) -- The color-coded terror alert system will fade to black Wednesday when the Department of Homeland Security announces a new way to inform the public about terror threats.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano says the new system will simply lay out what the threat is, who's being targeted and what people should do in response.

"We will implement a new system that's built on a clear and simple premise: when a threat develops that could impact you -- the public -- we will tell you," Napolitano said.  "We will provide whatever information we can so you know how to protect yourselves, your families, and your communities."

The new alerts will be labeled either elevated or imminent.  The new warning system, unlike the old one, will also have specified end dates when there is an alert.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FBI Directors Warns of Al Qaeda Operatives in US

Photo Courtesy - Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- FBI Director Robert Mueller issued a new warning Thursday about the threat of terror in the country, saying that dozens of sleeper agents -- al Qaeda operatives from Iraq -- may be living in the U.S.

Speaking before a House intelligence committee, Mueller said, "we are closely monitoring threats from al Qaeda in Iraq.  Individuals who may have been resettled here in the United States that have had some association with al Qaeda in Iraq."

On Wednesday, Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, also raised concerns about the same emerging threat.

"We are concerned that al Qaeda in Iraq remains committed to conducting external operations, to include the U.S. Homeland," said Leiter.

A senior law enforcement official told ABC News that intelligence developed in Iraq and a study of travel patterns from that country points to "dozens" of persons of interest in the United States.  An intelligence source said investigations and surveillance of some individuals are now underway. 

Mueller's concerns came a day after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned that this may be the most dangerous time since 9/11.

"In some ways, the threat today may be at its most heightened state since the attacks nearly 10 years ago," Napolitano said Wednesday.

Authorities point to threats from homegrown radicals fueled by the Internet and threats from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Warns of Terror Threat in United Kingdom

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert Monday warning Americans of the "continuing high level of terrorist threat" in the United Kingdom.  This alert follows another recent terror alert issued previously by British authorities and continues the alert issued regarding Europe last October that is about to expire.  However, the travel alert issued Monday does not bear the same level of concern as the Europe warning.

The notice warns Americans in Britain to "maintain a high level of vigilance" until the alert expires April 30.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FBI Warns That Sex Offenders Might Use Barbies to Lure Kids

Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- The FBI is warning against the potential misuse of a Barbie doll with video recording capabilities, cautioning that the popular toy could make it easier for sex offenders to surreptitiously film child pornography.

In a memo from the FBI that was mistakenly released to the press and obtained by ABC News, the FBI warned that the Barbie known as "Video Girl" could be a "pornography production method."  The doll is equipped with the ability to capture thirty minutes of footage through a concealed camera in the necklace worn by Barbie.

FBI Special Agent Steve Dupre from the Sacramento Field Office, where the memo -- dubbed a "Cyber Crime Alert" -- originated, declined to comment.

Mattel, the manufacturer of the doll, said in a written statement that the FBI has not said that there have been any incidents of this doll "being used as anything other than intended."

But law enforcement sources close to the investigation into the doll tell ABC News that Barbie dolls have been known to be used by sexual predators looking for ways to attract their young victims.  The combination of the concealed camera and the popular toy concerned officials, according to the source, who said law enforcement agencies nationwide were immediately made aware of the product.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Cheese Warning for Gouda Sold at Costco in Five States

Image Courtesy - Bravo Farms(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- The Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration are warning people not to eat a certain kind of cheese sold at Costco stores in five states.  It may be linked to a small E. coli outbreak that has sickened about two dozen people in five western states.  Costco is working with the federal government to track the possible outbreak.

People in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada have been affected and authorities suspect the Bravo Farms Dutch Style Gouda cheese sold and offered as samples at Costco stores in those states.  It's listed as Costco item 40654 and if you have any of it, you are advised to take it back to the place you bought it or dispose of it in a sealed container.

Most people infected with this strain of E. coli develop diarrhea and abdominal cramps, but some illnesses may last longer and can be more severe. While most people recover within a week, some may develop a severe infection.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio