The Google Doc Scam That Could Have Wiped Out Your PC


Google Docs was hit with a phishing attack the likes of we really haven’t seen before. It looked very very real, it spread quickly and was thankfully tackled by Google in just an hour according to the company. But it’s a good refresher of security and not trusting things even if they look genuine at first glance. Here’s what happened and what the red flags were...

The scam happened on Wednesday last week and was detailed as follows – first, users received an email saying that a Google Doc had been shared with them. So far, nothing ticking off alarms – I get those all the time. Next, users were taken to an account selection screen. And that looked very real as screenshots show. But then – big red flag – Google Docs asked access to their Google accounts.

Why would an app from Google ask for access to Google? It already has it, it doesn’t make any sense. However, if you’re having a stressful day at work and just saw an email, it is very easy to miss that one important detail. Once the app had control of your mail and contact info, the scam was spread to other accounts you were in contact with. And so, the snowball begins.

Or it would have if Google didn’t manage to cut it short in time. On Friday, Google representatives said they managed to take down the abuse within an hour and consequently updated user protection in Gmail. According to the company, only 0.1 percent of its users were affected by the scam.
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