Google Docs phishing attack underscores OAuth security risks

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Furthermore, Google reported on Wednesday that it had taken action against the phishing attack that had affected Gmail and Google Docs users.

By clicking on what looked like a standard mail, users ended up giving hackers control over their entire email history, attachments and contacts.

What made the phishing attack so convincing is that the website wasn’t a traditional phish but rather one which leveraged Google’s OAuth authentication interface. The campaign, Reuters said, involves a “novel approach to phishing”, wherein users are asked to click on a Google Docs link to grant access.

Once you clicked on the link inside, you were sent to a legitimate Google Apps page.

It could have been called “Jane” or “Team Spreadsheet” or “Malicious Link”. Google lets you generate passwords for apps that don’t support its two-step verification system, but there’s no need for them in any Google-branded apps in iOS 8.3 or later, and OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite or later. It seems that, lately, this email service has been “attacked” by phishing emails, but Google has found a way to stop them, by releasing a new update for the Gmail application.

Over a million Gmail users got hit by a phishing worm yesterday, sending the security world into a cacophony of screams and laughter. “The company also requested users to report any suspect phishing emails in Gmail”.

The phishing scam attempted to hack a user’s Google account after the user clicks a link that appears to be from a trusted individual.

Rather than identifying the app as Google, the drop-down menu showed the “Google Docs” app seeking third-party access was from a developer with the email [email protected] asking to redirect the recipient to a “Google sounding” URL.

But despite the cunning simplicity of the attack’s presentation – which would have made it hard for many to discern that something was fishy – experts say there were tell-tale signs indicating that something wasn’t right.

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Google then told him that “We’re deploying some abuse detection and reactive measures to deal with impostors that might try to abuse this sort of attack”.

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